SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — Disputes between lawyers and clients over legal fees are growing amid a slump in the legal services market and stiffer competition among lawyers.
According to industry sources, the practice of paying lawyers a deposit for their fees is shifting from paying in a lump sum to paying in installments of four or six months.
A lawyer’s fee, in general, consists of a deposit and performance reward. Today, the number of cases is increasing where even the deposit is not fully paid.
Amid stiffer competition among lawyers, the number of cases where clients delay the payment of the deposit or ask lawyers to return the deposit is not small.
The legal industry attributes the increase in the number of clients who attempt not to pay deposits to excessive competition.
According to the Korean Bar Association (KBA), there were 32,600 registered lawyers in South Korea as of Friday, a more than twofold increase over the past 10 years.
In contrast, the number of first-trial cases submitted to the courts declined to about 1.1 million cases last year from about 1.4 million cases in 2012.
Clients also have lots to say. The biggest reason behind their hesitance in paying deposits is the increase in the number of ‘unfaithful’ lawyers.
In August, the KBA suspended a lawyer’s license for one year for violating the duty of good faith. Even after accepting a case, the lawyer didn’t submit a written complaint for a long time and didn’t show up for the court date.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)