Justice William Brennan once observed that disputes about attorneys' fees are "one of the least socially productive types of litigation imaginable." Socially productive or not, attorneys' fees are a major problem in complex litigation today because of both the time and resources needed to determine appropriate fees and the public perception that fees are excessive. While the attorneys' fee problem is not unique to complex suits, the problem is magnified because: 1) complex suits are often more protracted than ordinary suits and necessarily require more lawyers; 2) many fee shifting statutes can be triggered in complex suits; and 3) class action suits, with their resulting common funds, form a large portion of complex litigation. This paper will propose several procedural mechanisms to make the determination of attorneys' fee more just and efficient and examine the extent to which judges have adopted these mechanisms.
Christopher P. Lu,
Procedural Solutions to the Attorney's Fee Problem in Complex Litigation,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol26/iss1/3