How much of this time was spent on the firm’s own marketing to the public, and how much was spent on the actual case? That is what the court could not determine in Deocampo v. Potts. Civ. No. 2:06-1283 WBS CMK, 2017 WL 363142 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2017).
Block billing occurs when the total time, rather than the itemized time spent on specific tasks, is billed. Plaintiffs’ counsel engaged in this method of billing for the following tasks: phone conferences, “immediate considerations,” “draft press release,” and “draft synopsis of opinion for publication.” The court found this to be “work largely done on marketing the firm’s work to the public, rather than work on the appeal itself.” The court went on to state, “[T]he court cannot tell how much time was spent on the phone conferences, which would be appropriately billed to a client, and the marketing work, which would not.”
The court acknowledged that the remaining block billed fees at issue could be more specific, but only the time block billed with tasks that were for firm marketing was reduced. Block billed fees that were “sufficiently detailed to assess the reasonableness of the hours billed” were not reduced.