The Priciest Lawyer in America

The Washington Post reports on the most expensive lawyer in America, the only one to charge $1,000.00 an hour. It is former U.S. Attorney General Ben Civiletti, a partner in the Venable law firm.

Civiletti, who specializes in litigation, antitrust law and white-collar defense, topped the National Law Journal's 16th annual survey of hourly rates at more than 100 of the country's top law firms.

The Post points out that while Civiletti may charge more than any other lawyer, it doesn't mean he earns more than other lawyers:

Civiletti's rate doesn't come close to making him one of the nation's highest-paid lawyers. Trial attorneys can win multibillion-dollar verdicts and earn fees that break down into more than $1,000 an hour, said Coffee. And a firm working on a merger may charge its client a percentage of a deal instead of billing by the hour. The lawyers who successfully sued tobacco companies in 1998, for example, raked in billions of dollars in fees.

Ben himself agrees and says the figure is "meaningless."

[Disclosure: I have served on the Lexis- Martindale Legal Advisory Board with Ben for the past 9 years which meets for a three day retreat-type event every year. I think he's worth every penny.]

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