NALFA hosted The Attorney Fees Conference – 2013 at the San Francisco Bar Association on October 25, 2013. The program had a morning session that focused on attorney fee disputes and an afternoon session that addressed attorney fee awards. The conference featured 20 panelists, including 3 judges. The program was a major success. Below is an article on the Attorney Fees Conference by Josh Sebold of the Daily Journal. The story ran in the community news section on November 1, 2013.
Experts discuss fee trends at annual conference in San Francisco
Attorneys gathered at the Bar Association of San Francisco on Oct. 25 for the annual Attorney Fees Conference, put on by the National Association of Legal Fee Analysis, to hear panelists discuss the nuances of awarding attorney fees in contingency fee cases that result in massive awards. William F. Downes, a neutral at JAMS, said defense lawyers often argue that contingency fees should be limited in civil cases when the Department of Justice has already prosecuted the defendants or others in a related criminal matter, the logic being that having the Justice Department go first makes a case easier for plaintiffs. He said the reality is that having the government go first can often harm a case, because attorneys can argue that their client wasn't one of the people targeted by the Justice Department or that they've already been punished. Downes said a civil case also has a different burden of proof. "They have to prove causation and damages - no small task," he said. Downes added that the Justice Department doesn't always share its evidence with plaintiffs in civil cases. - Joshua Sebold