I just read a most interesting article that was on the front page of the Fulton County Daily Report dated August 22, 2022.
The title of the article read: “Atlanta Billing Rate Surge Leads Nation by 12%.”
The national billing average was 5.8% upwards said the report. Atlanta law firms amounted a 7.5% revenue growth. What areas of the economy have felt this increase? Healthcare, intellectual property, increasing litigation activity, white collar litigation, real estate and international arbitration.
I do hope that the reader of this blog/article, will quickly see that the rates for workers’ compensation attorneys representing the injured worker did not increase one red cent. And it will stay that way. Why is this so? Workers’ compensation laws are specific creatures of the legislature. If the legislature passes a law that changes the workers’ compensation laws and statutes, then and only then does the workers’ compensation law change.
Ironically, in 1992, 30 years ago, the injured worker’s lawyer could charge 33 1/3% attorney’s fees, if the lawyer took the case before a judge; 30% if the lawyer was engaged in pre-litigation discovery or exchange of documents and 25% if there was no litigation of the case at all. When the legislature passed a bill changing these rates to 25% across the board, and when the Governor at the time (Joe Frank Harris) signed the bill into law, that was the only way the workers’ compensation fees for the –could change for the injured worker’s lawyer. (And I must admit…all of us lawyers were worried sick as to how we would make a living with only a 25% attorney fee across the board).
Reading this article about how the “market” or how the largest firms just decided one day at the Commerce Club, while smoking Cuban cigars and drinking Jim Beam Whiskey on the rocks, (always with a 24-ounce porterhouse steak) and up and change what their billing rates will be, this is a huge disservice to the public at large.
Under workers’ compensation, the legislature, in theory, representing the people at large in the House of Representatives, keeps “the cap” on fees, and not so whimsically done by the few with power and privilege.
Also notice that in the automobile accident or personal injury field, the rates continue to be between 25% to 40%. These numbers have not changed for many years.
My point is that the little person, the middle-class person, struggles to make it in this world, and are bound to accept the going rate increase by these very privileged, powerful lawyers and CEO’s.
I represent people injured on the job or in an automobile accident in Suwanee, Georgia. I have many years of experience and enjoy in representing people in their workers’ compensation claim for a fee of 25% or automobile accident cases where my rates are usually 25%-3 1/3%. I also represent people in their Social Security Income Disability claims where my maximum fee is $6,000.