Cutting the Ties that Bind (Part II)

[This post is a follow-up to a prior post on the issues involved with terminating a relationship with an attorney.]

In my prior post on the subject of removing a file from one lawyer to transfer to another lawyer, I noted that the ABA Model Rule of Prof. Conduct (RPC) 1.16(d) provides that an lawyer must “promptly” turn over client property (i.e., the file) upon notification of termination, but that the lawyer also “shall take steps” to “protect a client’s interest.” I left off with the issue of how to prevent or control the actions of an lawyer who wants to do a flurry of work on a file after you have provided notice that you want to transfer a file.

This issue is easily addressed.   Continue reading

Red Flags in Legal Bills: Excessive Conferencing

[Note: This is another in a series of posts on “red flags in legal bills.”  The posts are taken from my article “Red Flags in Legal Bills: What Warning Signals are Attorneys Sending?”]

The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) model “litigation guidelines” provide that “intra-office conferences” are “non-reimbursable.”  This reflects a belief among many litigation management professionals (and attorneys) that most billed for intra-office conferences among attorneys and staff are not necessary.

Where company litigation or billing guidelines do provide for payment of “intra-office conferences,” they generally provide that the company will not pay the fees for interoffice conferences that are “of a supervisory, educational, or administrative nature.”  This is because time spent on these tasks should be viewed as part of an attorney’s “overhead” for which an attorney should not bill the client. See, e.g., Restatement (Third) The Law Governing Lawyers, Sec. 38(3)(a).

Company litigation and billing guidelines that do allow  compensation for intra-office conferences generally also provide that only the handling attorney may bill for the conference and that the billed for conference should be of a “strategic” nature.  One large problem with this is that “strategic” is usually not defined. Continue reading