You just have to love this piece in today's NY Times that discusses all the perks, bonuses, life style enhancements and pay increases the big defense firms have to pay in order to keep their associates happy.
This follows shortly on the other stories in the WSJ and legal press regarding the $1.2 billion spent on legal fees by Merck defending Vioxx. One of the great myths in the entire debate about the cost of tort reform, the big bad trial lawyers and others lies is that defense attorneys are just poor humble hourly employees that don't enjoy the huge pay day that contingency fee attorneys get.
Well take a look at this article and some of the other ones floating around about the law firm pay, bonuses and expense accounts of the major defense firms in the United States and I can assure you that in a case like Vioxx that the defense counsel is going to make far more then any trial lawyer in that group. One of the biggest single costs of litigation are the defense costs that are charged to insurance companies, and by extension their policyholders and shareholders. Next time you get your home owners or auto insurance bill just remember the paid massage therapists, limo services and $5000 dinners that were billed by a defense firm that needlessly prolonged litigation or avoided settlement of a just claim for the sole purpose of inflating their bill and paying their associates a bigger bonus.