The economy must be in really bad shape, as it appears we have reached a point where the lawyers are reduced to suing each other (Waggoner v. Chadbourne & Parke). In this case, a California attorney sued a New York law firm, in California, on behalf of a Texas client. The lawsuit alleges that the (New York) law firm charged its (Texan) client more for online legal research – such as Westlaw and LexisNexis – than the law firm actually paid, thus earning a secret profit. The Texan allegedly paid about $20,000 for services that cost the law firm about $5,000.
The California attorney admitted that profits are permitted, just not secret ones (whatever else the California attorney may be, apparently she is not a socialist). She claims she has evidence that “at least a dozen other law firms” are engaged in similar practices.
In keeping with our policy of fairness, we report that the New York law firm noted that this suit was filed only after the Texan’s suit against them for malpractice had been dismissed and after the law firm had sued him for unpaid fees.
THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED: When hungry enough, lawyers, like rats, will turn on each other.