Erie County finally releases legal fees for Bills stadium lease negotiations

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The ongoing overlap between my former life as a lawyer and my current life as anything but a lawyer continues with respect to a topic about which every lawyer (and non-lawyer, for that matter) is interested:  Getting paid.

Unfortunate typo narrowly averted, especially in light of the proximity of the “P” button to the “L” button.

After a minor dispute regarding the ridiculous question of whether the prices charged by lawyers constitute “trade secrets,” the powers-that-be in Erie County, New York have disclosed information regarding the hourly rates charged by the firm negotiating with the Bills a new lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  According to Denise Jewell Gee of the Buffalo News, Erie County retained the firm of Nixon Peabody at a cost of $250 per hour for “partner” time.  (“Associate” time usually is much less; in this case, it was only $140 per hour.)

Given the current market for legal services, that’s not a bad deal.  Law firms were charging as much or more for low-level associate time 20 years ago, when a certain Internet hack with whom you may be familiar was a low-level associate at a law firm.

The proposals submitted for the project ranged from partner time of $225 to $635 per hour.

Of course, the rate doesn’t matter if the lawyers involved are horribly inefficient, or flat-out dishonest.  For firms that work by the hour, there’s no reward for getting things done quickly, a dynamic which the managers of law firms routinely describe as “leaving money in the file.”

The best lawyers need not worry about squeezing the udder until powdered milk comes out, because they have more work than they can handle and there’s no incentive to twiddle thumbs or speak . . . very . . . slow . . . ly.

The best news for Bills fans is that, regardless of what the lawyers are charging, progress is being made on a lease that expires in a year.

Here’s the part where we would charge you for the privilege of reading something that has only coincidental relevance to the game of football.  Since, however, we regard our prices as a trade secret, we’ll continue to give it away for free.