On the rise, according to Ann Klee, General Electric’s VP of Global Operations — Environment, Health & Safety, are lawyers who charge $1,000 per hour.
Per a Bloomberg report, Klee made this assertion while filling in for Brackett Denniston, GC for GE, at the Big Law Business Summit. Klee stated that the number of lawyers charging this rate has increased by 75 percent, and that Denniston considers this the “most challenging time facing GE’s in-house law department.”
According to The Texas Lawbook, at least 70 senior lawyers in the Lone Star State charge their clients $1,000-plus for their elite services. As the Dallas Morning News states, only a few years ago, this kind of rate was unheard of in Texas. According to the newspaper, “Corporate attorneys in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington blew past $1,000 an hour years earlier.”
Making the case for this rate in the Dallas Morning News article is Tom Melsheimer, managing principal at Fish & Richardson in Dallas, whose hourly rate is a little more than $1,000. “Putting a lawyer at $1,000 an hour or more is a way for a law firm to state that the lawyer is the best at what they do,” he said.
Melsheimer added: “Companies doing a $50 billion merger or involved in a $1 billion lawsuit are not going to quibble over whether the lawyer’s rate is $950 an hour or $1,100. I’ve rarely had any pushback on my rate.”
Meanwhile, Tim Power, managing partner at Haynes and Boone in Dallas, stated, “If my mother knew that I charge $950 an hour, she would never talk to me.”
What do you think about this increasingly common rate among elite lawyers? Far out or fair? Please post your comment below.