The Florida Bar

Professionalism and Money

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Classification:Billable Hours
Date Published:05/01/1992
Title:Professionalism and Money
Source:ABA Journal/Seth Rosner

Rosener approaches the subject of money and professionalism by examining what professionalism is in a broad sense. All lawyers are certainly professionals, although in our age of specialization, a tax lawyer hardly could be called a professional when dealing with a patent law problem unless he or she can devote sufficient time and effort to acquire the necessary skills.
During the last 10 or 15 years, materialism has been the predominanat motivation in American society. The explosive spiral of starting salaries for top law school graduates has reflected this fact, as it apologia: that to attract the "best and brightest", starting slaries must be competitive with those offered by investment banking firms to business school graduates.
When money becomes the primary goal, a law firm may end up choosing to systematically and deliberately inflate client bills and even to bill for expenses not actually incurred for those clients. When the public reads about the criminal indictment of a prominent lawyer based on allegations of systematic cheating or stealing through fraudulent billing practices, the effect has been to corrode the confidence that has existed between lawyer and client.
Rosner touches on litigation and the expected downsizing of the legal profession. Also, the close attention clients are now paying to the quality and cost of legal services contributes to the competitive nature of law firms forcing the marketplace to return to professionalism of the past. 3 pages


[Revised: 07-28-2006]