Like bond traders and those folks at Enron who did whatever they did, lawyers can be pretty greedy. Adam Victor, owner of a few different businesses hired a very large law firm, DLA Piper to take one of his businesses through bankruptcy. When he first hired the law firm in the 1990’s, it was known as Piper Rudnick and was big but not so big. Since then, as DLA Piper, it has become perhaps the largest law firm in the world. And, they apparently act like it.
DLA Piper sued Mr. Victor over unpaid bills. Mr. Victor counter-sued claiming the firm had over-billed him. Recent evidence includes emails gloating that the law firm has exceeded the budget for Mr. Victor’s case. One lawyer exulted, "I hear we are already 200K over our estimate – thats Team DLA Piper!" Another DLA Piper lawyer responded that a third lawyer had been assigned to the case. "Now Vince has random people working full time on random research projects in standard ‘churn that bill, baby’ mode." "That bill shall know no limits!" See New York Times report.
These emails represent the ugly side of what ought to be a more noble profession. Lawyers often decide how much legal research to perform, what motions to file, and more. It can be tempting to over-do it especially when other work has slowed. But, that is why this is a profession. We are supposed to exercise greater concern for the needs of our clients than for our own.