From the time we signed the agreement until the end of the trial, I did not have any concerns about him. But, just after the trial, I started to think and research the trial process. Actually, we (my wife and me) had not researched about the car accident trial process in the USA when we met with him. We were thinking that this was the expertise of our lawyer and it was not necessary to double check the details via the Internet.
But, after the end of the trial, I started to research and I reached out to several lawyers and friends, who live in the USA, to ask my questions. Now, I want to summarize what I think.
1. In the agreement, he offered us to take first 1/3 of the compensation. At that time, we did not think about it. But right now, we see he took advantage of the fact that we did not know the law system in the USA. He did it in bad faith. (It is possible he could be sued for this unethical behavior.) Taking your 1/3 first is an unfair distribution of the compensation. He did not first deduct the expenses and he took his 1/3 after first.
2. Another point: An inflated amount ($ 8,000) of an expert fee. He found us a doctor and he paid the doctor we believe, again, this is an inflated amount. We agreed that he would pay the expenses first and he will deduct them from the compensation at the end of the trial. BUT, it does not mean that he can decide to make such a large payment without any notice. He never informed us it was such a high amount. He was there to protect our rights, not Doctor’s rights. This was his first responsibility. Ethically, this is a must for him. He signed the agreement with us. In this case, he might have paid –let’s say- $ 15,000 to Dr. X for his services. What would be the result? Will we pay him after the trial?
Agreeing to pay the expenses does not give a lawyer unlimited freedom. Charging $ 8,000 for a single-day appearance in court on behalf of a PLAINTIFF is exorbitant even for New York. By taking his third first, he is not affected by unreasonable expenses which he deducts from client compensation.
Besides this, due to the dispute we have right now, I will complain about him to the NY Bar.
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
Eric Turkewitz’s response:“I don't generally respond to negative online reviews for the simple reason that I think this is the first.
But, having said that, and without disclosing any attorney-client privileges, let me respond:
In all auto cases since 2014 the client is given the option of whether legal fees are deducted from the gross sum recovered, or from the net sum after accounting for expenses. If done off the net sum, the client will receive more at the end if the case is won (because the lawyer effectively pays ⅓ of the expenses). But the client is also responsible for the costs of litigation if the case is lost.
If, on the other hand, the client chooses to have the legal fees deducted off the gross sum before expenses are deducted, then the client will receive less in the end if the case is won, but also isn't responsible for expenses if the matter is lost.
Clients generally make that choice based upon their own tolerance for risk, and usually take the option of letting the lawyer be responsible for all case disbursements if the matter is lost.
I wrote about this on my law blog back in 2014 when the rules changed:
With respect to the fees for a doctor to take time off to read medical records and testify, this is always expensive (if you want an actual, practicing, physician instead of a doctor that only does medical-legal exams). If an orthopedic surgeon is testifying, for example, that doctor will not be doing surgeries, or seeing patients, or teaching, or otherwise bringing in revenue to pay the rent or employees that are necessary to keep an office running. A fee of $5,000 - $10,000 is a lot of money, but also what the going rate is in New York for a good orthopedic surgeon.
(As an aside, it's worth noting that insurance companies are well aware of this financial burden, and use it to make low-ball offers to those that were injured in the hopes that they won't want to take on the risk of trial. This, oft times, represents bad faith negotiations by an insurer and there is legislation pending to address this. Each year I lobby my Legislature on this and other issues important to a decent civil justice system.)
With respect to the particulars for any individual client, reaching out to me via email or phone (or in person for those who can) would probably be more productive in providing explanations.”
Honest, forthright, and an excellent tactition
Eric Turkewitz impressed me most with his willingness to help above and beyond any request I could make of him. He is patient with those he represents, especially in reviewing the finer points of New York law (and its occasional eccentricities.)
Eric was masterful at knowing and executing on the details that make up a successful case, instead of just the broad points that make someone believe "my cause is just." Simultaneously, he was downright generous with his time on our case; he answered queries and provided comment at all hours, far beyond the call of reasonable need.
Eric is a consummate professional who cares about what he does, will fight for someone, and who gets things done. I would never hesitate to hire or recommend his services to anyone.
Eric really knows his stuff - which is critical in the chaos that is civil litigation in New York. He represented me and my business in a defamation matter; I was out-of-state and needed local counsel. He did a great job navigating the litigation and keeping me informed throughout.
That may seem like a little thing, but many, many lawyers are really bad when it comes to proactively communicating with clients. I've hired lawyers all over the country for business litigation matters for nearly 20 years now, and Eric is right up there with the best I've worked with when it comes to professionalism, diligence and responsiveness. Highly recommend.
A few years back, there was a prominent and successful thoroughbred race horse named "Masterful Advocate." Eric Turkewitz, who represented me - successfully - in the defense of an elaborate speech and defamation case, is a thoroughbred and a masterful advocate: attentive, prepared, highly capable, entirely ethical, unstinting in his devotion to his clients' cause. As an attorney myself, I view Eric Turkewitz as a shining example, a model of what an attorney should do and should be.
Eric Turkewitz represented me in the Rakofsky v. The Internet litigation. His litigation strategy and procedural tactics demonstrated a superior knowledge of New York local practice and American defamation law, including First Amendment principles. His collaborative approach, along with pro hac vice counsel, Marc Randazza, kept my co-defendants and I fully informed and ultimately vindicated our collective substantive defences and jurisdictional arguments. I would recommend Eric to any of my clients without reservation.
Mr. Turkewitz worked as local counsel in a litigation involving the defense of speech rights for a group of more than thirty legal bloggers (the so-called "Rakofsky v. Internet" matter). He worked tirelessly to vindicate not only our rights but the important principles involved for all who express themselves online. From the moment he agreed to act as our local counsel, we could not have been trusted to better-skilled counsel. Though the matter took much longer to resolve than either respondents or counsel anticipated, Turkewitz' attention to the needs of the case and of his clients never once flagged. He is an example of what lawyers should aspire to be for their clients and for their profession.
Don't let the nice smile fool you. This is a serious lawyer who will fight non-stop to protect his clients' rights.
His knowledge of civil procedure (which, contrary to what we see on television, is as important or even more important than trial advocacy skills) is endless. He knows the rules like the back of his hand.
Eric is a very serious lawyer and although hiring a lawyer is always stressful, Eric has an empathic, calm demeanor. Even in stressful situations you are left with the impression that he has everything under control.
I could not be happier with the representation he provided. It has been an honor to watch him work and I would gladly retain him again.
I'm an attorney in Philadelphia who had a matter based in New York City. Eric represented me and was wonderful in every aspect. Anyone who hires Eric Turkewitz is doing themselves a favor. He is responsive, knowledgeable, and experienced. If I ever need legal representation in New York again, I will call Eric.