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Yet another reason to bench the lawyers

g-cvr-081012-debt-clock-7p.grid-4x2 Reuters

Our item from earlier today regarding the respective conflicts of interest for NFL outside lawyer Bob Batterman and NFLPA* outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler has generated a couple of comments that reminded me of something I forgot to post earlier in the week.

Apart from the situation that arises when lawyers are representing multiple pro sports leagues and/or multiple pro sports unions, the lawyers in this case who aren’t on salary are presumably billing for their time by the hour — and those billings go a long way toward paying the bills for the lawyers’ firms.

On Monday, Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reported that the NFLPA* annual report revealed an expenditure of $8.9 million in legal fees on the labor situation for the 12 months in the year that ended on February 28, 2011.  Of that amount, Jeffrey Kessler’s firm received $2.87 million.

Bob Batterman’s firm undoubtedly billed the NFL in a similar amount over the same time period.

Surely, those number have grown since the lockout began, and likely at a much higher rate.  The payments made through February 28 would reflect, at most, activity through January 31, 2011, given the manner in which most law firms create and submit their invoices.  With the legal work spiking dramatically in February 2011 and even more in March, April, and May, an effort to track the legal fees likely looks something like the national debt clock.

Perhaps the post-lockout invoices from the various law firms have helped persuade the parties to focus on getting a deal done.  With no money coming in, the last thing either side needs is millions of dollars in monthly legal fees.

Until a deal is done, the best way to control the legal fees is to keep the lawyers out of the process, completely.

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37 Responses to “Yet another reason to bench the lawyers”
  1. packerrube13 says: Jun 16, 2011 3:11 PM

    I am attending law school, and even I hate attorneys.

  2. jetfaninla says: Jun 16, 2011 3:21 PM

    Keep on hating attorneys. Ignore all the good the do in the world and wrap them up with the a**holes like Batterman and Kessler.

    Lawyers aren’t the problems. Lawyers get deals done. Clients are usually the problem, because clients often don’t want to make a deal.

    In the beginning, the NFL and NFLPA didn’t want to make a deal. Now, it seems that two guys – Batterman and Kessler – are acting like Jerry Richardson. What do you do? Kick them out, and bring in other lawyers that can nail out the details.

    Yea, the lawyers are getting a lot of money, but it’s not like there’s a limited amount of lawsuits out there. The quicker they can wrap this up, the quicker they can move onto something else.

    Now if all the ignorant people want to unlike this post, fine, but it’s a shame many of you can’t open your eyes to see that most of the lawyers that are involved with these negotiations are truly trying to get a deal done.

  3. 2011to2020lions says: Jun 16, 2011 3:26 PM

    Someone some how has got to get this thing under control. If we don’t have a deal by July 15th I will be very disappointed. (not that I am not now)

  4. radrhatr says: Jun 16, 2011 3:28 PM

    Don’t worry about it. We’ll foot the bill for both law firms, when they raise the ticket prices.

  5. 2011to2020lions says: Jun 16, 2011 3:30 PM

    jetfaninla,

    There are not a lot of deals out there paying as well as this one is. I will give you one thing, not all lawyers are trying to screw the pooch, but a lot are. If they wanted to get a deal done so bad, why does it seem to stop every time they get involved??? who knows maybe you are right, but I doubt it

  6. packerrube13 says: Jun 16, 2011 3:31 PM

    Jetfaninla,

    We all know for a fact, based upon the information out there from very reputable sources, that the attorneys have done everything to NOT get a deal done. The NFL is a huge nest egg for them, and the longer they drag out the litigation process the more cash in their pockets (And the more their name is out there).

    You say there are unlimited law suits out there, and they want to get this one done as fast as possible to move on to the next one. HA! As if ANY of these other suits are as lucrative as the NFL lockout. You can call us ignorant for “thumbing down” or “dislike” your post, but really it’s just the pot calling the kettle black.

    Be informed before you post on here man, you look and sound like a fool.

  7. bobwhitequail says: Jun 16, 2011 3:35 PM

    According the NY Times, Kessler received $25 million from the NFLPA from 2006-2010 so that $2.87 mil is just the tip of the iceberg. Totally agree that costs would skyrocket past those levels once Kessler became the lead council for the Brady Lawsuit.

    The poster above who said the lawyers want to wrap this up is clearly totally ignorant of the situation. Lawyers like Kessler do not try to “wrap things up”. The negotiations were non-existant until they got the lawyers out of the process. Then they let Kessler back in for one day and he almost blew up the whole thing. Now the lawyers are back out and the 2 sides are negotiating again. Kessler (and likely his NFl lawyer adversaries) are out to line their pockets first, build their reputation second, satisfy their ego to “Kill! Kill!” the other side third. If they happen to get a resolution after those 3 things are satisfied they could probably live with it but they would likely be happier with no resolution as that keeps the >$1000 per hour? billing rate rolling in.

  8. hystoracle says: Jun 16, 2011 3:41 PM

    All I know is Batterman cost the NHL a full season. The NFL would be better off to sever his services and let him go work for the NBA with a glowing recommendation.

  9. minormillikin says: Jun 16, 2011 3:42 PM

    I’m surprised Gloria Allred hasn’t found a way to weasel into this situation yet.

  10. wilburmills says: Jun 16, 2011 3:56 PM

    Sorry it is you packerrube who is uninformed,,,good lawyers don’t operate the way you and bobwhite are saying…any lawyer who does is unethical and likely soon without clients,,,,you build your practice by serving your clients’ interests and that is also in your own interest to do so…there are in fact other cases and other deals out there….

    if the parties could get along so well, they wouldn’t need lawyers…any settlement or deal I have been involved in settled because of the lawyers not in spite of them…

    without question legal bills can be high, good lawyers do charge a lot and are often worth it..

    good post jetfaninla

  11. thingamajig says: Jun 16, 2011 3:57 PM

    Big bucks lawyer turned football blogger=idiot

  12. vetdana says: Jun 16, 2011 3:57 PM

    Excuse me but…….Had they negotiated instead of litigated….would not those millions of dollars in legal fees…still be in the pot to be split by the concerned parties? Would we have a CBA before now and regular off season activites ? Just exactly WHAT Value, and for whom,…… did those millions of dollars in legal fees purchase ?…….could we have gotten along without litigation and saved millions ?? Many would say ……YES !

  13. finsuppatsdown says: Jun 16, 2011 4:03 PM

    I really wish that people would stop with all the anti-lawyer crap. Don’t get me wrong, there are definatly some greedy scum bag lawyers out there. There is, however, more lawyers who are just trying to help people and make a living at the same time. Coming from a lawyer, believe me, we are not all rich greedy scumbags, some of us actually enjoy helping people.

    A lawyer’s job is to fix situations that people either can’t or refuse to fix themselves. If people didn’t break the law, the world would not need defense lawyers or prosecutors. If people could trust each other, the world would not need lawyers to review contracts and litigate business disputes. If people could seperate from each other and equitably settle issues of child custody and property division, the world would not need divorce lawyers… If the people who are so critical of lawyers really sat down and thought about it, their problem is not with lawyers, but with the human race in general.

  14. ravensfan4life52 says: Jun 16, 2011 4:14 PM

    i don’t blame the lawyers for the lockout they are just the beneficiaries of it, but all I know is once the lawyers showed back up in the negotiations the negotiations almost fell apart according to ESPN and other sources. that doesn’t shine to bright of a light on the lawyers. now I don’t like dealing with lawyers because in my experiences with them they took my money and provided nothing in return. oh and none of my experiences with lawyers have to do with me getting arrested. i’ve never been arrested and i don’t plan to ever do anything to get arrested. but there aren’t too many stories out there with lawyers as the good guys so it’s easy to understand people’s negative views towards lawyers. but every lawyer i’ve dealt with didn’t seem to have a problem telling me there is nothing they can do to help after taking my money.

  15. marty2019 says: Jun 16, 2011 4:24 PM

    I wonder if some of the people posting in this thread work for the law firms involved in this dispute.

    You lawyers get back to work. Stop posting on message boards when you’re supposed to be working.

  16. bobbyhoying says: Jun 16, 2011 4:25 PM

    I totally disagree that lawyers get deals done. Maybe in a divorce court but certainly not in the business world. Not in my experience. Congress lives to pass more and more oppressive laws because so many of them are lawyers. Passing laws with no thought of unintended consequences is what the clowns do. Insurance costs are high because of ambulance chasers. Some staes require an attorney to close a real estate deal just because the legal lobby is so strong. Lawyers a good thing? Make me puke.

  17. pastorinisflak says: Jun 16, 2011 4:28 PM

    Ah, the national debt clock….I like how the dollar sign has to share a spot with one of the digits. Looks like we’re running out of space.

  18. tombradyswig says: Jun 16, 2011 4:33 PM

    radrhatr says: Jun 16, 2011 3:28 PM

    Don’t worry about it. We’ll foot the bill for both law firms, when they raise the ticket prices.

    IT’S WHAT THE FANS WANT – R GODELL!!

  19. packerrube13 says: Jun 16, 2011 4:36 PM

    It’s the only argument I need Wilburmills!

  20. pallidrone says: Jun 16, 2011 4:42 PM

    Maybe the ‘anti-lawyer’ crap comes from there being 1 lawyer for every 265 people in the US. The highest lawyer to person ratio in the entire world.

    There are a few lawyers that are trying to help people, but there are a whole lot more who are more interested in suing everyone in sight, slowly down our legal process and making as much money as possible.

    Let’s be honest here, a lot of people go to law school not because they want to legitimately help people but because they see dollar signs.

  21. hodag54501 says: Jun 16, 2011 4:46 PM

    Memo to fans:

    The longer the dispute goes on, the more money the lawyers make. Consider that next time you are grimacing about the situation.

    When I am reincarnated, I will get good enough grades to go to law school. Even a bad lawyer makes more money than a working stiff, and you are never are really held accountable for wins or losses. If you are fired from a firm, hang out your own shingle and still make more money than the greeter at WalMart.

  22. orakpwnd1983 says: Jun 16, 2011 4:47 PM

    Half the Lawyers I know are out of work. Dying Breed I tell you.

  23. swissard says: Jun 16, 2011 5:00 PM

    finssuppatsdown says, in essence that lawyers exist because of shortcomings in humanity – such as lack of trust, greed and dishonesty. The problem with this lockout not all of the above but add a dash of a group of attorneys who see a $9 billion pie that they want a piece of too. So all they have to do is nitpick, nitpick, nitpick while the meter’s running. In short, they too, are very much part of the human race problem finsuspatsdown identified….except the attorneys come across more like buzzards drooling over the not quite cold $9 billion carcass.

  24. mrfrostyj says: Jun 16, 2011 5:04 PM

    1st) Does anyone else notice that the PFT boards almost overnight went from “Anti player” to “pro lawyer”. Do you think that is a coincidence…. I don’t. These people have been rooting for the lockout since it started and got so bad PFT actually acknowledged it.

    2nd) Whomever said Gloria Allred should get involved is a genious. Who wouldn’t love to see a press conference with a player or owner in ragged clothes with Allred hovering over him and talking about him like he’s a poor kid from a third world country just to get her face on TV again.

  25. finsuppatsdown says: Jun 16, 2011 5:06 PM

    bobbyhoying says: Insurance costs are high because of ambulance chasers.

    Wow you are incredibly misinformed. Do you just believe anything your insurance company tells you? Insurance companies are the reason insurance costs are so high. Not all of the companies are bad, but it is their job to take people’s money and then find reasons for the company to not pay claims. If you think lawyers have a strong lobby check into the insurance companies lobby. Then insurance companies use the excuse that lawyers are costing them money so they have to raise rates…despite the fact that insurance companies are one of the most profitable businnesses on the planet. This country needs insurance reform not health care reform!

    Secondly, any lawyer who is actually caught hanging around hospitals trying to find cases…(ambulance chasing) will likly lose his or her license to practice law.

    @ Hodag54501

    Trust me, it is not all it is cracked up to be. Hundreds of thousands of dollers in student loans and most attorneys don’t crack $80,000 a year in salery.

    @ marty2019

    No I dont work for either side of the dispute… I wish I did…lol. Oh yeah, and I am on vacation.

  26. mhs8031 says: Jun 16, 2011 5:11 PM

    Now do you see why involving lawyers is stupid? They make money the longer this thing drags out….hmmm. Ever watch them negotiate a divorce? They are trained to ride emotions as long as they can. $$$$$$$

  27. jimmysee says: Jun 16, 2011 5:38 PM

    Generally, I’ve found that nobody likes lawyers, but everybody likes their own lawyer.

    If each side’s counsel is not being helpful to the process, the client is free to fire and replace them at any time.

    Or choose not to.

    There are no guarantees of continued employment for lawyers.

    And past results are no guarantee of future success.

  28. macgee10 says: Jun 16, 2011 5:50 PM

    Lawyers usually are good to have but not in this situation if a deal hasn’t got done in the past 2 years since the owners opted out of the old cba.

  29. bradwins says: Jun 16, 2011 5:51 PM

    @packerrube13:

    I can trace my distaste for lawyers back to law school, too. I wouldn’t say that you hate lawyers despite the fact that you’re in law school, but because you are in law school.

  30. nflfan101 says: Jun 16, 2011 6:21 PM

    Folks, lawyers are people. As such, some will try to milk a situation for all that they can, even if it is not in the best interest of their clients. Others will try to do the right thing for their client, even if it causes the lawyer not to make as much money as he/she could make.

    It appears to me that D. Smith started this legal mess thinking like a lawyer, but has finally began to think like a labor leader. Now, there seems to be progress.

    As for the other lawyers in this legal mess, it appears that some of the lawyers have put their financial interest in front of their clients business interest. They need to just let the parties make their deal. Explain the legal aspects to the clients, but let the clients make the deal.

    As a lawyer, I disagree with jetfaninla when he says “Lawyers aren’t the problems. Lawyers get deals done. Clients are usually the problem, because clients often don’t want to make a deal.”

    Sometimes, lawyers are the problem, sometimes they are the solution. Sometimes, clients are their own problem, sometimes they are their own solution. It varies.

  31. tommyf15 says: Jun 16, 2011 6:32 PM

    vetdana says:
    Jun 16, 2011 3:57 PM
    Excuse me but…….Had they negotiated instead of litigated….would not those millions of dollars in legal fees…still be in the pot to be split by the concerned parties? Would we have a CBA before now and regular off season activites ? Just exactly WHAT Value, and for whom,…… did those millions of dollars in legal fees purchase ?…….could we have gotten along without litigation and saved millions ?? Many would say ……YES !

    You act as if the players never negotiated with the owners. They have and they still are.

    Of course, had the owners simply not fought against the union’s right to decertify, all parties would have saved money in legal fees.

    Not to mention that the owners spawned all of this by opting out of the previous CBA early.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that the owners could have kept negotiating without locking the players out, but chose to lock them out anyway.

  32. jimmysee says: Jun 16, 2011 8:09 PM

    packerrube13 says:
    Jun 16, 2011 3:11 PM

    I am attending law school, and even I hate attorneys.

    ————————————————————

    Curious — with a comment like that — why are you going to law school?

    What made you decide to go?

    What school are you at (if you don’t mind my asking)?

  33. lostsok says: Jun 16, 2011 8:25 PM

    jetfaninla is absolutely correct. In fact, we should all be glad we live in a country with a robust legal system, wherein we all have recourse to the law.

    To NOT live in a country like that is to live in Iran, or Syria, or any other sh*thole where democracy is stiffed.

    The system works. Slowly, sure. Full of greedy INDIVIDUALS, sure. But it works.

  34. bradentonbuc says: Jun 16, 2011 8:30 PM

    He may hate lawyers, but must love the money.

    “All I know is Batterman cost the NHL a full season. The NFL would be better off to sever his services and let him go work for the NBA with a glowing recommendation”

    The NHL has never recovered from that mess, just ask them about their TV package. But the lawyers got paid.

  35. goldsteel says: Jun 17, 2011 12:36 AM

    I’m in complete agreement. Is it in the financial interest of the lawyers to resolve the CBA? The longer this lasts the more the lawyers get paid regardless of the results.

    Has anyone read or seen “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens? Jarndice and Jarndice was the case of a fortune that was contested until the lawyers litigated the fortune away.

  36. nmeagle33 says: Jun 17, 2011 2:07 PM

    I have no love for lawyers. At my divorce the lawyer was a hour late. A court recorder and judge was re-signed. I had to call my boss as I was to open the store, he wasn’t happy. Also, lawyers implant all that legalese talk to ensure their work down the line.

    Lawyers are the bane of our society. They will cause our beautiful Republic to crumble from in.

    I see no possible GOOD USE lawyers; most are bottom dwellers looking for their next person/people/organization to screw.

    In today’s economy they are doing quite well as many of us try to figure how to make it another week. ( hoping these football people realize that)

  37. finsuppatsdown says: Jun 17, 2011 4:31 PM

    @ mneagle33

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience during your divorce. Please don’t blame my entire profession because one lawyer and one judge were not doing a very good job (according to you).

    Believe me when I tell you, we are not doing that well in today’s economy. First of all, there are too many people graduating from law schools every year and not enough jobs. Can you imagine having hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans and no job? It is funny that everyone thinks lawyers are so rich. Some are… but the majority of lawyers are working for between 45-80 grand a year. People just assume we are all rich because the media only talks about the rich lawyers.

    Lawyers are not the “bane of our society”. In fact, society as we know it would not run without lawyers… You know, like the Supreme Court of the United States for example. Lawyers do things like protect people’s rights. Do you want to live in a society where your rights are unprotected?

    The majority of lawyers I know are good, honest, hard working people. Of course there are lawyers who are dishonest scumbags. There are dishonest scumbags in every profession. From the looks of things, the lawyers involved in this case may be dishonest scumbags, but don’t equate their actions to an entire profession. It is no different for you to say “most lawyers are bottom dwellers looking for their next person/people/organization to screw.” then for you to say most African Americans are lazy. Both statements are ignorant and untrue stereotypes.

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