A New York judge has shot down a lawyer's claim that a client meant to give him more than $450,000 as a gift rather than as part of a fee in a medical malpractice case. Norman L. Cousins received about $948,000 in legal fees but sought more, claiming the litigation had bankrupted him. The judge found, in part, that the claimed gift wouldn't be acceptable under state ethics rules, which say that, before accepting a large, unsolicited gift, a lawyer should urge the client to seek independent counsel's advice.
Lawyer's Bid to Keep 'Gift' Above Legal Fees Rejected
New York Law Journal
December 27, 2007
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