Yearly Wrap Up – 2011

 Posted by at 9:18 am  Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Yearly Wrap Up – 2011
Dec 302011
 

Yearly Wrap Up

The most popular stories of 2011 on Controlling Legal Costs…

Reverse Auctions Becoming More Frequently Used by Corporations to Reduce Legal Costs (August 9th) – Reverse auctions have become more frequently utilized by corporations to reduce their legal spend. The online auction process allows firms to submit anonymous bids on specified projects. If a firm submits a new, lower bid the auction is extended to allow competing firms to submit a lower bid if they so desire. Although the process has been criticized for reducing law firms’ long term relationships with clients, general counsels have praised the idea for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of firms on a project by project basis. Continue reading »

Attorneys’ Fees Exceed Award in Katrina Wind Damage Case

 Posted by at 11:43 am  Court Decisions  Comments Off on Attorneys’ Fees Exceed Award in Katrina Wind Damage Case
Dec 292011
 

Penthouse Owners Association was awarded $1.8 million, in a suit against its insurer, in response to a denial of coverage for wind damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. While Penthouse’s lawyers’ requested $2.3 million in attorneys’ fees, the legal team ultimately received a judgment in the amount of $1.9 million, exceeding the jury award for Penthouse’s damages. Continue reading »

City of Vernon’s Battle Against Disincorporation Leads to Huge Legal Fees

 Posted by at 10:44 am  Overbilling  Comments Off on City of Vernon’s Battle Against Disincorporation Leads to Huge Legal Fees
Dec 282011
 

The California City of Vernon has turned to the law firm of Latham & Watkins to defend the City against disincorporation efforts.  While former state Attorney General, John Van de Kamp, the city’s current ethics advisor, has praised Latham’s work, he also has stated that the city is paying far too much for legal services, whether it is the rates that Latham is charging or the general amount of legal expenses.  Between 2005 and 2010, the City has spent more than $40 million on outside law firms. This doesn’t include the $500,000+ annual salary to three different City staff attorneys. Continue reading »

Series of Scandals Force New York State Court Officials to Revise Guidelines for Public Administrators

 Posted by at 9:01 am  Legislation, Overbilling  Comments Off on Series of Scandals Force New York State Court Officials to Revise Guidelines for Public Administrators
Dec 272011
 

After a series of scandals involving New York public administrators, the Administrative Board for the Office of Public Administrators was called upon early last year to propose a new set of guidelines with respect to record-keeping and auditing standards.   The proposed guidelines were released earlier this month for public comment. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 12/23

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Dec 232011
 

A collection of Legal Fee Articles from the past week..

TVA Shelling Out Massive Legal Costs in Response to Coal Ash Spill (The Tennessean) – The Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest public utility in the state, told the Associated Press on Friday that  it has spent over $10 million on outside legal costs stemming from the Kingston Plant coal ash spill.  The firm of Shook, Hardy, and Bacon, based out of Knoxville, has been the recipient of these fees.  Plaintiff’s attorney, Gary Davis, expressed outrage over the fees that the TVA has paid to outside counsel so far. He said, “A lot of people could have been compensated for their damages.” A judge is set to rule on the issue of negligence soon. Continue reading »

Dec 222011
 

This week, the Indiana Supreme Court found that an attorney, Lawrence T. Newman, engaged in various misconduct including: failing to comply with a client’s reasonable requests for accounting of hours he worked, charging an unreasonable fee, failing to withdraw from representation promptly after being discharged, and failing to return the client’s file after his retention was no longer necessary to secure payment of his fee.  For this misconduct the court suspended Newman for at least 18 months without automatic reinstatement. Continue reading »

Abused Spouse Ordered to Pay Attorneys’ Fees and Spousal Support

 Posted by at 11:51 am  Divorce  Comments Off on Abused Spouse Ordered to Pay Attorneys’ Fees and Spousal Support
Dec 212011
 

The Vista Superior Court has ordered Crystal Harris to pay $3,000 per month in spousal support to her ex-husband, in addition to $47,000 in attorneys’ fees, despite being the victim of domestic abuse. The spousal support award was subsequently reduced to $1,000 per month due to the domestic violence allegations. The attorneys’ fees award was also reduced to $26,000 due to the restitution Harris’ husband was required to pay her in a connected criminal case where he was convicted of a sex crime. Continue reading »

$285 Million Awarded for Attorneys’ Fees in Southern Copper Corp Shareholder Lawsuit

 Posted by at 3:28 pm  Court Decisions  Comments Off on $285 Million Awarded for Attorneys’ Fees in Southern Copper Corp Shareholder Lawsuit
Dec 202011
 

On Monday, December 19, 2011, the Delaware Chancery Court ordered what is believed to be the largest legal fee award in the court’s history—$285 million.  The award stems from a derivative action brought by Southern Copper Corp’s shareholders against the company’s board in 2004, alleging that Southern Copper was overpaying for the acquisition of Minera Mexico.  Continue reading »

State Supreme Court Justice Receives Free Legal Services to Defend Ethics Complaint

 Posted by at 12:27 pm  Court Decisions  Comments Off on State Supreme Court Justice Receives Free Legal Services to Defend Ethics Complaint
Dec 192011
 

In response to an ethics complaint filed against Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman after his 2008 election campaign, Gableman retained Michael Best & Friedrich to represent him in the campaign case.  Pursuant to Gableman’s agreement with the firm, Gableman was only obligated to compensate the firm for its legal work if he recovered fees from the state.  After a 3-3 split in the highest court of the state, Gableman was unable to recover any fees from the state.  Thus, Gableman was under no obligation to pay legal fees to the firm, and he was simply responsible for out-of-pocket expenses. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up – 12/16/11

 Posted by at 11:51 am  Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Weekly Wrap Up – 12/16/11
Dec 162011
 

A collection of legal fee news from the past week…

Alternative Fees Being Considered by Washington Governor (The News Tribune) – Washington Governor Chris Gergoire’s administration is looking to cut costs, and legal bills racked up by sex offenders on McNeil Island have moved onto his radar. On average, the state government has been paying $39,000 a year in legal fees for the inmates.  Even worse, the state does not even know how much each individual inmate’s legal costs were because attorneys were not required to itemize their bills until this year. Attorneys are currently being compensated at $85 / hr for their time with these cases. State officials are considering switching to flat contracted rates or hiring public defenders to ease the budgetary concerns.

Continue reading »