Want to grow up to be lawyers and doctors...

WHY DO KIDS

June 27, 1992

WHY DO KIDS want to grow up to be lawyers and doctors? Because they'll get rich. Here's an example.

Montgomery County Councilman Isiah Leggett was sued for sexual harassment. The lawsuit dragged on for two years before it was rejected by a jury. Because Mr. Leggett is a county official, Montgomery's taxpayers paid the legal bill. Want to guess the amount? You're not even close. Try a higher figure. Still higher.

Try $860,117.

That comes to $8,200 spent every single week for two years to mount Mr. Leggett's legal defense.

Venable, Baetjer and Howard got paid an average of $6,500 per week, or a total of $677,600. Even its paralegals billed the county at $50 to $60 an hour. If one paralegal puts in 40 hours a week at that rate, the take-home pay comes to over $100,000. But, of course, the law firm ends up with most of that billable collection, as well as the $17,066 charged for photocopying.

And the doctors? They do just fine, thank you. A forensic psychiatrist examined the accuser, reviewed the records and gave trial testimony, all for $250 an hour. He walked away with $28,071. At that rate, this hard-working doctor can easily rake in $600,000 annually.

The only one who took a bath on this case was the plaintiff's lawyer, who took the case on a contingency basis. That means he was hoping for a big, big payday if he won. Something in seven figures. But this time, he lost. And since this lawyer's client is unemployed, he's stuck with the $65,000 in expenses, plus $135,000 worth of billable hours.

As they say at the courthouse, c'est la guerre!

* * *

THE STRAWBERRY season is almost over, but the dairy princess season continues. Among this year's winners is Laurie Zimmerman, a 19-year-old Frederick County lass, who finally made it after two unsuccessful tries.

"I'm looking forward to getting out and promoting milk," Miss Zimmerman told the Frederick Post as she received her $100 check. "I'm going to be doing as much as I can to learn more about milk to get ready."

We have always admired the enthusiasm of dairy princesses. It makes us guilty every time we pour a dairy substitute (usually a "petroleum product") into our cup of tea.

* * *

IF MUSEUMS, in lieu of entrance fees, can "suggest" contributions and waiters expect to get a 15 percent tip, why shouldn't panhandlers ask for what they want?

A recent visitor in Washington found a beggar near the Federal Triangle office complex, who asked for "60 cents, please." Later that same day, a panhandler in the Dupont Circle area asked for $5.

As in everything else, the asking price is determined according to the neighborhood.

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