Apr 042016
 

Block billing is a prevalent problem throughout the legal profession. Although a recent decision by the 9th Circuit found an attorney’s block billed entries to be adequate, the court still based its decision on the reasonableness of time billed for the given task.

Plaintiff’s counsel block-billed several line items to research and draft a motion for a total of 30 hours, and to review the record and draft a reply brief for a total of 11 hours.  The Court concluded that the entries could have been more specific, but found that the block-billing in this case was reasonable and did not require counsel to “record in great detail how each minute of his time was expended.” The line items referenced a specific argument that was part of the brief being prepared, and the Defendant agrees that such task could require a significant amount of time.  The Court cites a 9th Circuit case which held that block billing can be reasonable, although just barely, if the line item lists the number of hours and the general subject matter of the expenditure. For block billing to be considered reasonable, the line item must contain sufficient detail so that the Court can determine if the number of hours billed are reasonably justified.  See Potter v. Colvin, 2015 WL 7429376 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 23, 2015).