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Ethics letter to ABA on separately negotiated fees

As Ted noted in this space last month, our friend Lester Brickman of Cardozo School of Law has been calling attention to the ethically ultra-dubious practice of some plaintiff's lawyers of obtaining their fee compensation from defendants in a supposedly separate negotiation, at the clear risk of creating an incentive to sell out the interests of the class or individual client they represent. Prof. Brickman has drafted a letter to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility requesting an opinion declaring that this practice is unethical. He's posted the letter on his website and, as hinted before, its twenty signatories represent a group of remarkable ideological diversity as well as much distinction in the field of ethics and professional responsibility. They are: Richard Abel, UCLA; David Barnhizer, Cleveland-Marshall; Lester Brickman, Cardozo; Robert Cochran, Pepperdine; Roger Cramton, Cornell; Leonard Gross, Southern Illinois; Allison Hayward, George Mason; Michael Horowitz, Hudson Institute; Michael Krauss, George Mason; Lisa G. Lerman, Catholic; Judith Maute, Oklahoma; Tom Morgan, George Washington U.; Jeffrey O�Connell, Virginia; Deborah Rhode, Stanford; Howard Rosenberg, Denver; Ronald Rotunda, George Mason; George Schatzki, Arizona State; Peter Schuck, Yale; William Simon, Columbia; and Bradley Wendel, Cornell.

P.S. We at the Manhattan Institute were among the first to call public attention to abuses in "separately negotiated" fees more than a decade ago -- see the second half of Lawrence Schonbrun's Civil Justice Memo #30.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.