Tuesday, October 20, 2009

 From the oral argument for Perdue v. Kenny [10/14/09] concerning discretionary increases on lodestar compensation based on quality of performance (when judges are averaging how much a lawyer should be paid in a case, can they add a bonus for good work, and good results?):
Chief Justice Roberts: "maybe we have different perspectives. You think the lawyers are responsible for a good result and I think the judges are."

Mr. Clement: "And maybe your perspective's changed, Your Honor."

Justice Roberts: "maybe your perspective has changed too, Mr. Clement. Your argument is that, for $495 an hour you really can't get a good lawyer? You need to pay more than that?"

Mr. Clement: "Well, on that my perspective has changed, Your Honor."
When scholars debate the benefits for oral argument, it's quotes like these that make the case. Certainly, the representative's personal beliefs on compensation would never have entered into his legal brief. But because Justice Roberts had Clement in front of him, because he could solicit answers to questions seemingly unrelated to the legal merits- the justices were able to illuminate an area of the practice that could make a difference to the outcome of the case.

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