Network Firm News

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Moves to Limit Attorneys' Contingency Fees Initiated in 12 States
Daniel Wise -- New York Lawyer -- May 7, 2003
New York was one of 12 states where petitions were filed yesterday with lawyer discipline authorities to limit attorneys' contingency fees in personal injury cases that reach quick settlements.

The proposal would limit attorney's fees to their hourly rates in fast-settled tort cases, with a maximum cap of 10 percent of the recovery. A contingency fee of one-third of the recovery is routinely charged in personal injury suits.

The nationwide effort is spearheaded by a Washington, D.C., based non-profit group, Common Good, which is headed by Philip K. Howard, a vice-chairman of Covington & Burling and the author of several books criticizing the American legal system. Michael J. Horowitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, who was general counsel to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in the first Reagan Administration, also played a key role in the effort. The author of the brief filed in New York is Harold Reynolds, a former clerk of the Appellate Division, First Department, who took on the assignment pro bono, as did counsel in the other 11 states where petitions were filed.

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