Really Dumb Things Smart Attorneys Sometimes Do

As a member of my state bar’s “legal ethics hotline,” I get to hear about some really dumb things that otherwise smart attorneys do that wind up creating an ethical dilemma for the attorneys.  Likewise as a reviewer of legal bills from throughout the U.S., I also get to see some really dumb things that otherwise smart attorneys wind up doing.

Brother, can you spare a dime?

One of the dumber things I have come across was an attorney who appealed a reduction for charging .20 per copy instead of charging .10 as the company billing guidelines required.   In appealing the reduction, he wrote that his copy of the company’s guidelines did not mandate a .10 per copy rate.  For support, he attached the guidelines to his appeal.  Although the guidelines he attached were the old company guidelines, he was correct in that the guidelines did not require a charge of .10 for copies.   What the old guidelines did mandate was that “in-house copies were non-reimbursable.”  Oops! Continue reading

CEO Vows to Fight Back Against Inflated Legal Bills

Adam Victor, CEO TransGas

“For the past decade, I have fought with DLA to reduce their legal bills.  And now I’m going to keep on fighting.” 

Adam Victor, CEO TransGas Development Systems

New York Times, DealBook online, March 25, 2013

I have never used a picture in any of my posts.  Until now.  I just could not resist using this one. It is a classic.  This is a picture of one angry CEO.

According to the DealBook article, Mr. Victor is angry about what he believes to be inflated legal bills he has gotten over the years from DLA Piper.  Likely he was also not very amused when he read some interesting e-mails from DLA Piper attorneys with comments like “I hear we are already 200k over our estimate — that’s Team DLA Piper!” and “Churn that bill, baby!” and “That bill shall know no limits.”

If only Mr. Victor had sought my advice before he hired DLA Piper.  I would have told him my first rule when it comes to hiring a law firm which is to NEVER, EVER, EVER hire a BIG law firm when you can hire a smaller law firm to do the same work. Continue reading