Magazine Details Legal-Access Fee Challenges

THE WEEKEND READ: Legal access for civil issues, like foreclosure or family law issues, is gaining traction as a national issue, and The Atlantic has published “Is There Such a Thing as an Affordable Lawyer,” a detailed look at the fee-system problem. The report notes that a recent law review article said that “… the typical legal services consumer in the U.S. makes approximately $25 per hour, and is priced out of the services lawyers provide even at low attorney rates of $125-$150 an hour.” The the report contrasts those rates as being “… well below the standard rates shown in the 2013 Laffey Matrix—a set of fee guidelines compiled within the U.S. Department of Justice—which start at $245 for a greenhorn associate.”

It’s not exactly light reading, but the story uses both specific stories and academic theories to illustrate why the market is slow in responding to consumer needs. Then it also offers examples of change that might lower the cost of legal representation. A must-read for anyone worried about civil justice rationing: Is There Such a Thing as an Affordable Lawyer.