You’d think that with a glut of lawyers, restive clients, slackened business and a flaccid economy, that all sectors of the legal profession would be taking a hit. You’d also think it’d be a buyer’s market with lawyers having to sharpen their pencils to get and keep business from razor-sharp clients negotiating rock-bottom rates in a soft market.
But that’s not so when the clients are the dull knives of government. Those suppositions rarely if ever apply to them since the money they spend is O.P.M. (Other People’s Money). Politicians and government, after all, are best known for reliably failing to give taxpayers their money’s worth.
According to a news item last Friday, there are no privations apparent at the 400-lawyer West Coast law firm hired to defend Arizona governor Jan Brewer et al. from the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s lawsuit over the anti-illegal immigration law, SB 1070. Barring an injunction, SB 1070 goes into effect July 29th. The law makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and empowers police to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.
Life is good.
So at Big Law, life is still good. To defend Arizona and its governor, senior partners get $450 per hour, associates bill out at $350 per hour, and at $200 per hour, paralegals command what some less blest solos charge for an hour of lawyer’s work.
Writing in cha…ching, The Arizona Republic‘s Political Insider, says that the Governor’s defense bills loom large for Arizona. Just for 11 days of work, Arizona has already rung up $77,136.58 at the law firm cash register. With apologies to Ella,“It don’t mean a thing, if that cash box don’t ring.”
Legal Defense Fund.
The fund has already generated over $1,000,000 in donations from around the country. Even Hate Groups Have Donated to the Arizona Law’s Defense.
But when law firm billing rates ascend to the rarefied troposphere, it will take barely 143 days to exhaust the money currently in the defense fund presuming the first billing of 11 days at $7,000 per day is any indicator. Such a depletion, of course, assumes that the organ grinder stops and that no more coins fall into the tin cup. But even in such a happenstance, it’ll be left to Arizona taxpayers to dance and to pick up the slack. Big Law suffers naught.