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Law Firm Sues Former NYC Police Commissioner for $200,000 in Fees

No one ever said legal representation was cheap.  But did Fulbright & Jaworski ever tell former NYC Commissioner Bernard Kerik that representation would be costly when they signed on to represent Kerik in an investigation soon after his nomination as head of Department of Homeland Security fizzled?  That's the question that I have after reading this story,  Bernard Kerik has one more legal problem on his hands. (NY Daily News, 10/31/07). 

According to the article, Fulbright & Jaworski has sued Kerik for $202,384.04 for legal representation in connection with a federal investigation.  Not surprisingly, Kerik argues that he never realized that his bill had gotten so expensive.  From the article:

"Certainly, Mr. Kerik would never have authorized such continued services had he been aware of their sheer volume and related costs," attorney Chad Seigel wrote in the Oct. 21 email, which was attached to the lawsuit.  In the email, Seigel claimed that Kerik had been overbilled by Fulbright & Jaworski, and that he would have hired a cheaper lawyer had he been aware of his bill.

While I empathize with Fulbright getting stiffed, I have to wonder about the firm's practices.  For example, why did they go and run up a $200,000 bill without obtaining additional funds in advance.  And didn't the firm provide Kerik with an estimate of fees, so that he could budget for payment?  On the other hand, Kerik is a fairly sophisticated client who should have some idea of how much top-quality legal representation costs. Did Kerik go out and hire a pricey firm, figuring that his lawyers would write off his fees afterwards in exchange for the publicity generated from representing a high profile client?

Which scenario do you think is most likely?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on October 31, 2007 at 05:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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