"What Are You Worth?"
*This, like the other answers to questions in the book, are largely based on student opinion and do not necessarily state the correct law.
Furthermore, Porgsby was a sophisticated buyer of legal services and the court’s paternalism does not seem fitting here. A court could also find that the fee contract is not unconscionable because Darrow is not taking advantage of Porgby's ignorance or exerting superior bargaining power or disguising unfair terms in small print, to borrow language from the Telex case. Rather, Porgby knew what he was getting into and there was no asymmetry of information in the market. Alternatively, courts could find for Porgby because limiting legal fees seems a fair tradeoff for the monopoly the bar has on practicing law.
Applying Model Rule 1.5, it is highly likely that this fee arrangement would be deemed unreasonable. There is nothing in the fact pattern that indicates that this case would take more time and/or labor than any other murder case. There does not seem to be any other difficult questions involved nor did there seem to be any specific skill requisite for this case. Acceptance of this position by Darrow will not preclude her from accepting other positions because she is not looking for other positions and Darrow made this obvious to Porgsby. Moreover, Darrow’s fee is exorbitantly high compared to the customary fees of other comparable lawyers and her offer was a fixed fee, and not contingent (in which case she could be more justified in asking for more money because she is risking losing the case and not making a dime).
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