Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

In re Fordham

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
668 N.E.2d 816 (1996)


Laurence Clark hired attorney Laurence Fordham (defendant) to represent his son who had been charged with driving under the influence after he failed two breath tests and registered .10 and .12. At their first meeting, Fordham informed Clark that he had never represented a client in a criminal matter but that he would agree to the representation at the rate of $200 per hour. Thereafter, Fordham worked diligently on the case for several months. He filed four pretrial motions and a motion to suppress the breath tests on the unique theory that, although the two tests were exactly .02 apart from each other, they were not “within” .02 of one another as required by Massachusetts regulations. Clark’s son was later found “not guilty” of the offense. Fordham sent Clark a bill for $50,022.25 reflecting 227 hours of billed time, 173 hours by Fordham and 74 hours by his associate attorneys. Counsel for the Massachusetts State Bar (Bar Counsel) accused Fordham with charging an excessive fee under disciplinary rule (DR) 2-106. A panel of the disciplinary board (the panel) held in favor of Fordham. Bar Counsel appealed. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 199,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.