Criticism of Attorneys’ Fees Requires Adaptation to a New Market

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Susie Lloyd[*]

In the United States, awarding costs to a prevailing litigant is commonplace. Although governed by state and federal statutes, the “American Rule” is often viewed as an excessive and calculated move by attorneys designed to make the rich richer and leave clients writing the check. It is a battle waged on the ground of attorneys seeking just compensation for their abilities in navigating an often inaccessible system, while clients strive to save costs in fear of spending more than practicable in order to sustain their businesses and prevail in countersuits. The contravening interests result in negative attention toward the legal profession. Simply, clients want more for less. And when attorneys cannot deliver without a high cost, clients are turning to other outlets to address the same needs without the high price tag.

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