Michael R. Caryl P.S.

Attorney’s Fees Issues – Our Sole Focus (206) 378-4125

A Unique Law Practice Focus

From Mike’s first litigated fee dispute begun in 1994, Taylor v. Shigaki, 84 Wn.App. 723, 930 P.2d 340 (1997) in which he successfully represented Seattle lawyer Fred Zeder and his firm, Peterson, Young, Putra, Fletcher and Zeder, this niche law practice has developed to where it has come to address virtually all aspects of disputed lawyer’s fees, and nothing else. Over the nearly twenty years since 1994, Mike, his colleagues and staff have represented over 100 lawyers and lay clients in disputed fee matters. During the course of this period, we have developed expertise in the finer points of disputed lawyers’ fees, including the ethics of charging and collecting fees, obtaining fee shifting court awards of fees, the use of attorney’s liens to secure and collect fees, the use of expert witnesses in litigated fee disputes, and using the ADR components, mediation and arbitration, to resolve disputed lawyers’ fees.

In the course of this growing experience and expertise, Mike has earned the respect and confidence of our clients, the bench and lawyers both inside and outside Washington. Over the course of this learning process, our practice has expanded into new areas, from providing expert testimony in disputed fee cases to serving as either arbitrator or mediator in disputed fee cases. Our practice has expanded to clients from all corners of Washington State, and from Idaho, Oregon, California, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Our Commitment to Our Clients

From our very first case, Taylor v. Shigaki, we have developed and maintained our unswerving commitment to the best interests of our clients, both lay and lawyer. Many clients engage us on a repeat basis. Most of our clients come from referrals from existing lay and lawyer clients, which demonstrates client trust and confidence in that commitment.

As part of this commitment, we endeavor to fully counsel our clients on various alternatives to resolving their disputed fee problems, to advise openly and honestly on the potential costs of those alternatives and the risks of litigating their case to an end result. To the extent humanly possible, we counsel our clients with cost-benefit analysis on the various alternatives. We begin each new client engagement with an analysis of the problem and exploration of potential solutions. We then seek to carry out the solution with the greatest prospect for a speedy and inexpensive resolution. Examples of this deep commitment to our clients may be found under the Tab above, “What Our Clients Say.”

Our Commitment to the Law and Our Profession.

We are fully committed to the improvement of our profession. We are strongly committed to the rule of law and respect for the law and the expansion of knowledge of all aspects of the law and ethics related to attorney’s fees. Mike’s commitment to the betterment legal profession is demonstrated by his authorship of the Attorney’s Fees Chapter of the WSBA Ethics DeskBook, the many instances of his professional writing in legal periodicals, his teaching of over 40 CLE presentations on attorney’s fee and trial practice issues, and by his mentoring of law students and new law graduates and active participation in the two local law schools’ moot court and other programs.

We endeavor to maintain cordial and respectful relations with opposing lawyers and parties, judges and the organized Bar. We reject scorched earth litigation practices and punitive discovery. We advocate both mediation and arbitration where appropriate as a means to an early and inexpensive resolution.

“Without any doubt, Mike Caryl is the “go-to” guy in Washington State in litigation over attorney fee disputes and for knowledge of the ethics and practicalities of charging fees and billing clients. … I hired Mike to collect the delinquent fees, despite his warnings that it would be expensive, nasty, difficult and protracted. It was all of those things. But in the end, Mike recovered the vast majority of the unpaid fees plus statutory interest, in the face of a determined foe and through an extended trial and two levels of appeal. … He delivered when it really counted.”

– Charles Kimbrough, Bellevue lawyer