December 30, 2019 Top Story

Representing Yourself Can Generate Fees

State supreme court awards attorney fees to attorney acting pro se

By Mark A. Flores

A state supreme court has approved an award of attorney fees for an attorney who defended herself in a lawsuit. In affirming the award of attorney fees to a pro se party, the court considered that doing so might deter future frivolous litigation. The decision divided the court, however. It also has divided ABA Section of Litigation leaders. Some agree with its rationale, but others believe it might open the door for more demands for attorney fees.

In some cases, attorneys can be awarded attorney fees for defending themselves

In some cases, attorneys can be awarded attorney fees for defending themselves

iStockphoto by Getty Images

A New Way to Earn Attorney Fees

The case, which wound up at the Illinois Supreme Court, began as a suit between two attorneys. In McCarthy v. Taylor, a grantor created a living trust naming his romantic interest as a secondary trustee. The trust named Gerald McCarthy, an attorney, as a secondary successor trustee. Following the death of the grantor, another attorney presented McCarthy with an amended trust document naming that attorney, Marvin Gray, as the successor trustee.

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