Is $1,000 an Hour "Unreasonable?"


The Wall Street Journal recently spotlighted the few (less than 2.9% of the total) lawyers in this country who can command $1,000 or more in hourly rates. The strong implication of the story was that these lawyers were charging an outrageously high fee.

In reality, Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5 states that "a lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee." Deciding a reasonable fee generally involves ethical questions of professional conduct. Is the amount of the fee proportional to the value of the services performed? Do the lawyer's skill and experience justify the fee? Does the client understand the amount and nature of the fee and consent to it? Does the client understand how the fee was to be calculated?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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