Little by little, we are creeping toward the regulation of legal fees. Whether this is a good thing or not depends, I suppose, on whether you are just starting out in the law and scrambling for your next client, or whether you are tap-dancing on the threshold of retirement, hoping to salt away enough to keep you until the Reaper calls.

Apparently, fees for lawyers’ services were set in colonial times. Before John Marshall became chief justice of the United States, he worked as a lawyer, handling matters for his clients. There was a fee card set in Richmond, Va. One biographer relates that Marshall would represent as many as 300 clients a year to generate the income he wanted. A lawyer handling as many clients a year today would undoubtedly face discipline; how could you adequately communicate with each?

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