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When Both Sides Win

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The U.S. Supreme Court, while rejecting a federal district court's $4.5 million enhancement of attorney fees and sending the issue down to the federal district court to be argued again, also upheld that courts could enhance attorney fees under ''rare circumstances.''

In a ruling that can be a major performance booster, the Supreme Court held that a lawyer's superior performance during the course of litigation can be considered as a factor for enhancing attorney fees by the court when there is ''specific evidence'' in favor of the enhancement.



While some critics feel that, the ruling would make it more difficult for lawyers to receive enhanced fees, unless there were extraordinary circumstances with specific evidence to justify the decision, others differ. Many are gladdened by the fact that, first, the ruling does uphold the concept of attorney fees enhancement, and next, it recognizes superior performance as an adequate ground.

The need to support with specific evidence any decision for enhancing attorney fees, increases fair play, or rather reduces chances of unfairness. By laying down restrictions, the ruling protects parties from unreasonable costs, and by supporting superior performance as a ground for enhancing attorney fees it protects hard'working lawyers against unfair returns. For lawyers fighting civil rights cases without fees, this ruling holds out the hope of fair returns against superior performance. For the general populace, this means greater support for protection of their civil rights, because incentives for their lawyers just became official.

Attorneys representing the State of Georgia, which is the defendant in the original suit, felt rejection of the sum of enhanced fees was a win for the State and the public. On the other hand, lawyers representing the plaintiff felt it was a win for them as the matter would be re'argued (more fees) and the Supreme Court had upheld the principle of enhancement of attorney fees.

Now that is what I call a win'win judgment with both parties happy in specific and both lawyers and clients gaining class benefits in general.


About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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