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    Houston's Most Popular, or Hated, Lawyer

    Attorney's hourly fee breaks four figures

    With major league baseball players able to make as much as $15,000 an hour, why should a major league lawyer like Houston's Steve Susman, co-founder of plaintiffs' litigation firm Susman Godfrey LLP, worry about raising rates to a measly one-grand-an-hour rate? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, law firms around the country have grappled with the question for years--fearing client backlash.

    Money quote: "We have viewed $1,000 an hour as a possible vomit point for clients," an unnamed partner in a New York firm told the Journal.

    But with lawyer fees rising at 6 to 7% a year since 2000, reaching the four-figure mark was inevitable. Houston's Susman is known for trying large cases around the country. He is one of many attorneys cited in the article who have decided that, yes, their time is that valuable.

    Driving the increases, in part, are the rising salaries firms are paying associates. Many firms around the country have decided to raise first-year associate pay to $160,000 a year to hire the best law school graduates. .:.


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