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The ten commandments of setting and collecting attorneys fees in criminal cases: redux (part 1)
By John Wesley Hall Jr.
Twenty years ago, the venerable, now retired from practicing law, Lionel Barrett published an article in The Champion
entitled “The Ten Commandments of Setting and Collecting Attorneys’
Fees in Criminal Cases.”1 This article takes Barrett’s “Ten
Commandments,” of which there were actually thirteen, and updates them
with comments. For the 2003-04 version, I have broken the rules into two
parts, setting fees this month and collecting fees in the next issue
(January/February 2004), and I have elaborated somewhat on Barrett’s
rules, which still generally hold true today.
We are members of an honorable profession, but private practitioners are
also maintaining a business that has to ethically cover overhead and
make a profit to exist. This is the business of practicing law,
something a lot of us do not want to worry about. In setting and
collecting fees, we have to balance the business side of our practice
with the ethical side. Moreover, when Barrett wrote his “Ten
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