Is it detailed enough?

 Posted by at 9:11 am  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Legislation  Comments Off on Is it detailed enough?
Feb 212017
 

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.

Former Attorneys Receive No Reimbursement for Unsuccessful Claims

 Posted by at 10:11 am  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Legislation, Overbilling  Comments Off on Former Attorneys Receive No Reimbursement for Unsuccessful Claims
Jan 302017
 

The Court recognized Plaintiff’s former attorneys, Swick & Shapiro, P.C., billed at reasonable rates for the nature of the case and skill required in Smith v. Loundon County Pub. Sch., 2017 WL 176510 (E.D. Va. Jan. 17, 2017). However, the former attorneys failed to reduce their fees in relation to Plaintiff only prevailing on one of her three claims. The Court found the attorneys reduced arbitrary amounts from their billing simply claiming “lost claim time” with no further explanation and which only amounted to ~10 and ~22% of their total billing, respectively. In addition, the remaining time entries contained block billed and various vague entries, prompting the Court, for those reasons, to reduce the overall billed time by Swick & Shapiro by 50%. The Court next recognized the firm’s work in the case provided assistance in Plaintiff’s current counsel’s preparation, but ultimately, since Plaintiff only prevailed on one claim, it required “a substantial reduction for ‘lack of litigation success,’” and the Court took an additional 2/3 reduction. Finally, an attorney who billed for Plaintiff’s representation before the EEOC received nothing of her requested $8,400 since the Court found it troublesome the attorney billed nearly all time to the nearest hour and, based on the time sheets, it was impossible to determine how much time billed was actually expended on the one successful claim.

Politicians Dipping into the Campaign Kitty for Legal Fees to Defend Against Scandals

 Posted by at 9:08 am  Legislation  Comments Off on Politicians Dipping into the Campaign Kitty for Legal Fees to Defend Against Scandals
Jul 252014
 

As reported by the Daily News, New York State lawmakers have spent $7.5 million of campaign funds on legal fees since 2004. Furthermore, $300,000 alone was spent in the last “six months from political campaign accounts to cover legal fees stemming from multiple scandals.” The use of campaign funding to pay for defending oneself from scandals is not illegal under New York law. However, “how much of New York’s job growth can be attributed to the need for ever-increasing numbers of lawyers to defend state politicians?” Continue reading »

Hazleton Immigration Law Causes the City to Possibly Face $2.8 Million in Legal Fees

 Posted by at 12:19 pm  Legislation  Comments Off on Hazleton Immigration Law Causes the City to Possibly Face $2.8 Million in Legal Fees
Jul 212014
 

Attorneys who challenged Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act in a U.S. Supreme Court case are now seeking $2.8 million in legal fees.  In 2006, Hazleton’s immigration ordinance stirred up controversy as it “penalized businesses that hired illegal immigrants and landlords who rented to illegal immigrants.” Continue reading »

Exeter Possibly Hit With Over $250,000 in Attorney Fees and Costs

 Posted by at 11:16 am  Interesting Fee Cases, Legislation  Comments Off on Exeter Possibly Hit With Over $250,000 in Attorney Fees and Costs
Jul 142014
 

The town of Exeter may face over $250,000 in attorney fees over a long-time dispute with Brentwood. The disagreement all began about three years ago when Exeter “illegally placed an 8-ton weight limit on its 500-foot portion of Pine Road.” Continue reading »

New York City Approves $4.9 Million to Help Cover Legal Fees of Those Facing Deportation

 Posted by at 11:36 am  Legislation, Uncategorized  Comments Off on New York City Approves $4.9 Million to Help Cover Legal Fees of Those Facing Deportation
Jul 032014
 

As reported by ABC News, “New York City has created what advocates say is the nation’s first system of public defenders for poor immigrants facing deportation.”   New York City lawmakers have approved $4.9 million dollars to help cover legal fees for The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project. This project will “cover all eligible immigrant city residents detained in the system and appearing in immigration courts in New York City or the New Jersey cities of Elizabeth and Newark.” Continue reading »

Courts Adopt Revisions to the Statement of Client’s Rights and Responsibilities

 Posted by at 4:22 pm  Legislation  Comments Off on Courts Adopt Revisions to the Statement of Client’s Rights and Responsibilities
Jul 292013
 

Due to changes in technology and the 2009 adoption of Rules of Professional Conduct, legal authorities agreed that the Statement of Client’s Rights and Responsibilities needed to be revisited and updated to reflect those changes. Changes to the document were proposed by the Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct and approved by the State Bar’s House of Delegates on June 2012. The revisions to the statement, which all New York lawyers are required to post in their offices, were put into effect in April 2013 by the New York’s four Appellate Divisions.

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U.S. Legal System Ranked as Most Expensive in the World

 Posted by at 4:36 pm  Legislation  Comments Off on U.S. Legal System Ranked as Most Expensive in the World
May 302013
 

A recent study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting provides that the American legal system is the world’s most costly! The study compared litigation costs between the U.S., Canada, and Europe, looking at liability costs as a percentage of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).  While countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal had costs around 0.4 percent of GDP, the U.S. costs were noticeably higher – 1.7 percent. In addition, legal liability costs in the U.S. were found to be about 50 percent higher than costs in the U.K.

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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 »

Defending Arizona Senate Bill 1070 Has Cost Arizona Over $2 Million in Legal Fees

 Posted by at 10:47 am  Legislation  Comments Off on Defending Arizona Senate Bill 1070 Has Cost Arizona Over $2 Million in Legal Fees
Nov 142011
 

Arizona Senate Bill 1070 says, in part:

“The legislature finds that there is a compelling interest in the cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona. The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement of the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona. The provisions of this act are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.” Continue reading »