Economy Tightens Patience for Legal Services

Okay, the economy is certainly tightening up, thanks to the credit crunch and the mortgage mess.

Clients are getting impatient with the time it takes to get good results. And they can't understand why defendants don't just "do what's right" and settle their case.

Of course the reason is money. It probably has nothing to do with who is right and who is wrong. It has everything to do with holding on to the money for as long as you can.

Defendants are stalling longer than ever before, trying to keep the money in their own pocket for as long as they can. And they are arguing over every nickel and dime like it's someone's eye teeth.

Defense attorneys seem to be practically inventing ways to work their files more, which stalls the file more and builds up more fees, and that costs the plaintiff more. With defense law firms now cutting back and laying off, it's no wonder that the remaining attorneys are looking for ways to pump up their billings.

You'd think their clients would wise up, but then again they appear more willing to pay their lawyers to fight than to pay a plaintiff to settle --- even when it's cheaper to pay to settle. That doesn't make good business sense to us, but apparently it does to them.

And some people wonder why the public disdains the legal profession. Heck, even some lawyers do.

For now, plaintiff's lawyers need to get economically smart in a hurry if they are going to ride out the current economic slump and the settlement slump being cause by defense tactics. Time to watch the billables, income, and expenses very carefully.