Not Everyone Hates Attorneys

You may recall the horrific Staten Island Ferry accident in 2003 that left 11 of the estimated 1,500 passengers dead and many more hurt. The accident spurred more than 170 lawsuits. The highest amount went to James McMillan, Jr., who was paralyzed in the maritime accident and suffered the most severe injuries save death. McMillan was awarded $18.3 million in September 2008, more than twice the highest amount awarded by that point.

In addition to the $18.3 million award, however, the judge reduced McMillan’s lawyer’s fee to 20 percent of the judgment, bringing the fee down from $6.1 million to $3.7 million. Personal injury attorneys typically get some 33 percent of judgments.

In June 2009 McMillan requested permission to pay his attorney the higher fee, stating that his lawyer earned and deserved the money. He told the New York Federal Court magistrate, “I don’t need that extra. I want him to have it. He worked for it.” For some, money isn’t everything, but having a trustworthy and dependable attorney is close.