Jacoby & Meyers v. The Judges of the Connecticut Superior Court: some questions part 1

“Jacoby & Meyers has been the pioneer and vanguard  of ensuring the availability of quality legal services at a reasonable cost to those most in need of it – the lower, working and middle classes. Unfortunately, however, Jacoby & Meyers’ ability to raise the capital necessary to pay for improvements in technology and infrastructure and to expand its offices and hire additional personnel, is severely restricted by an out-dated Rule of Professional Conduct.” Complaint paragraph 1.

Why would an investor invest in a law firm that serves the lower, working and middle classes?  How much revenue can a law firm reasonably expect to generate by providing legal services at a reasonable cost to  the lower, working and middle classes?

One can imagine investors willing to invest in high value contingency fee cases.  They already do in the form of litigation funding operations.  But other than contingency, litigation, including class action litigation, which can generate enormous legal fees, it is hard – at least for me – to see why any informed, reasonably prudent, arms length investor would chose to invest in any firm, much less one that is, admirably to be sure, devoted to serving the lower, working and middles classes.

And, given the way our contingent fee rules work, there it is hard to imagine anyone – regardless of how poor they may be – who can not “afford” to have a contingent fee case brought on their behalf.  There is no shortage of talented contingent fee lawyers and law firms in this county.

It may well be that Jacoby & Meyers has a plan to develop a technology platform like the one Legal Zoom employs, which, as everyone who reads Legal Zoom’s fine print knows, does not engage in the practice of law.  Rather it engages in what is apparently  highly effective advertising offering at reasonable prices that which “the lower, working and middle classes” …. can not otherwise afford, namely to have the law on their side.

If you want to glimpse factors that are influencing the future of the legal profession read the Jacoby & Meyers’ complaint and follow the work of Ethics Commission 20/20, and, please, stay tuned here at For Connecticut Lawyers.