State Bar urges members to take Economics of Law Practice online survey

All State Bar of Michigan members are strongly encouraged to participate in the 2010 Economics of Law Practice Survey.

It is available online at until Sunday, Oct. 31, and should not take more than 15 minutes to complete.

The survey has taken on great importance since the outcome of Smith v. Khouri, in which the Michigan Supreme Court declared that trial courts must begin their determination of an appropriate legal fee by pinpointing the fee customarily charged in its locality for similar legal services, and base this determination on "reliable surveys or other credible evidence of the market."

The court referenced the SBM-sponsored Economics of Law Practice Survey as a past measure. As there is no equivalent survey regularly conducted, participation in this survey affords SBM members input in this important assessment.

The survey also will gather more information than required in Smith v. Khouri, in order to become the best tool available for attorneys in Michigan to figure out how to set their own fees, or to discover if they are earning salaries that are comparable to those of their peers.

"In order for the results to be useful, it is imperative that as many attorneys as possible take the time to participate, because a better turnout will make for results that are far more detailed and useful to practitioners," stressed State Bar of Michigan President W. Anthony Jenkins.

"Taking the survey is the one thing that every member of the Bar can do to help."

The 2010 survey has been revamped to make it faster and easier to use. Members are assured that their privacy will be fully protected when they participate and that their replies are strictly confidential.

The State Bar will not have access to any respondent's financial records.

Attorneys do not need to provide a P-number or any other identifying information to take the survey.

In fact, the survey will be hosted by a third-party vendor on an independent website. However, to help members find the survey, a link will be provided on the State Bar website.

The survey can be taken anytime, on any computer. If an interruption occurs, respondents can continue where they left off without having to start at the very beginning.

Survey participants can enter to win a new iPad, a $250 gift card, or a $150 donation to Access to Justice.

Final survey results are expected in late December or early January 2011 and will be available online to all Michigan attorneys, free of charge.

Published: Tue, Oct 19, 2010