November 2007 Archives

November 19, 2007

IANAL ... But I Bill Like One

ianal2.jpgHow much do fake lawyers charge? So far this blog has focused on the fees paid to real attorneys. But what about fake attorneys -- those devious folks who pretend to be lawyers? Apparently they're compensated just as well as their non-faux brethren. One man paid a fake attorney $18,000 for a failed attempt to get off a drunk driving charge. Apparently the pseudo-attorney's questioning during jury selection ("Do you like animals?") didn't tip off the court.

How much can a law firm bill for the services of a fake attorney? $300 an hour. At least that's how much Anderson Kill & Olick billed for the work of a paralegal who fooled the firm by pretending to be an "unduly agressive" attorney.

How many lawsuits can a fake attorney win in eight months? 25, according to a fake lawyer operating out of Newport, California who managed to prevail in that many matters before his ruse was discovered. "I lied about being a lawyer but other than the lie, everything else was totally legit," he said.

Are all fake attorneys doing it for money? No, some do it for love.

November 16, 2007

Book 'Em

freyphoto.jpg How much does it cost for a bunch of lawyers to sue Random House over a fake memoir? $783,000. That's what Random House paid attorneys as part of a class action settlement brought by readers 'deceived' by James Frey's fabricated memoir, A Million Little Pieces. (In class action cases, the defendant -- Random House, in this case -- must pay the other side's attorneys' fees.) How much did the author earn from the book? $4.4 million.

How much were the actual damages from the fake memoir? $27,348. That's a payment of $15.81 cents each to the 1729 people who joined the lawsuit. How many people bought the book? Approximately 3.5 million. 

How many newspapers did Random House have to advertise in to notify members of the class (people who bought the fake memoir)? 962 at a cost of $432,000.

How many copies did the book sell after it was exposed as a fake memoir? 93,738. The book remained on best seller lists for an additional 26 weeks proving that fake memoirs can sell as a well as real ones. Clifford Irving, call your agent.

November 4, 2007

And Could You Detail Those Briefs, Too?

carwash1.jpg What's it cost to get an attorney to widen the road in front of a Florida car wash? At least $125,000 for attorneys' fees and legal experts. Background: Back in 2004, officials in Marion County, Florida wanted to widen a local road and needed a 2,000 square foot right-of-way in front of Mike's car wash. County commissioners instituted an eminent domain claim that later was bogged down in procedural issues and appeals. Under Florida law, the county must pay a property owner's attorneys' fees and costs in an eminent domain case and Mike's attorneys handed the county a bill for $160,000 which was eventually whittled down to $125,000 (a little less than half the value of the property at issue). The $125,000 doesn't include what the county paid its attorneys so it's possible the total legal costs exceeded the property value. One county commissioner pointed out that a death penalty case costs only $83,000 and recommended cryptically that next time, the county should "just sue him to death."

What's it cost to get an attorney to help you start up your car wash? Approximately $1500.

Which is better for your car, handwashing or a car wash? According to a microscopic study of car finishes by the University of Texas, a mechanical car wash is better.

Which is better for the environment, hand washing or a car wash? According to the experts, take it to Mike's ... oh wait, has he been replaced by a widened road?