find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Size matters for penny pinching judge

Size matters for penny pinching judge

An American judge has incurred the wrath of small firm lawyers everywhere by declaring that those working in small firms aren’t worth the same as those working in big firms.

Lawyerist.com reports that Alan Gura, a lawyer with a small US firm who successfully challenged Washington D.C.’s gun ban, had his fees cut dramatically because he did not have to pay the overheads of large firms.

Apparently, Gura took the gun case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and toiled for six years to win what was thought by many to be an unwinnable case.

But when it came to sorting out the dosh, Judge Sullivan of the Federal Court found that Gura’s work was not “sufficiently exceptional” to justify the requested enhanced award of $589 per hour and, quite simply, as a small firm lawyer, Gura didn’t deserve the big fat fees demanded by lawyers in large firms.

The judge thus slashed his fees by two thirds, calling his performance “unremarkable”. This was despite the fact that, at an earlier hearing, Sullivan waxed lyrical about how lucky the district was to have such “outstanding lawyers from outstanding firms” working on the case.

Blogger Carolyn Elefant vented her spleen on myshingle.com, saying, “Judge Sullivan’s decision is outrageous …Courts have fairly wide latitude in awarding attorneys’ fees. Judge Sullivan could have exercised his power to reach a decision more favorable to Gura and his team, but he didn’t … In my view, the decision results from an utter lack of understanding of, and respect for, the work that solo and small firm lawyers do.”

Indeed.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Size matters for penny pinching judge
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...