Rocket J. Squirrel, friend of Bullwinkle.

In and around the town where Blawgletter grew up, hunters ran dogs, shined spotlights, and aimed .22 rifles towards limb and treetop in pursuit of a local delicacy — squirrel.  Specifically the brains of squirrel.  Blawgletter never sampled the special treat; somehow we knew we wouldn’t like it.

Blawgletter cannot say the same about the eat what you kill approach to lawyer compensation.  At least since 1985, Blawgletter’s trial firm has fancied itself an EWYK kind of place.  The more business you bring in, the more you earn.  You EWYK.

One may take the approach too far, as a New Jersey firm did when it hinged compensation on a strict EWYK formula.  The financial Procrustean bed proved supremely just for some and profoundly unfair for others.  Or so the winners and losers thought, respectively.  The firm imploded.

Blawgletter’s firm doesn’t do formulaic lawyer pay.  Never has.  In January, we look back to set each partner’s share of profits for the previous year.  But we don’t apply some kind of Avogadro’s number to spit out results.  As a partnership, we adapt our approach as conditions change.  So, yes, we do eat what we kill, but we also share.

Coming soon:  practicing law as profession or guild/trade/business?  Plus:  does it matter?  And:  who cares?

Barry Barnett

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© 2007 Barry Barnett, who reserves all rights.