One of the most common complaints I get from individuals who submit gigantic legal bills for me to review is about the number of attorneys who billed to work on their case.
The most recent variant of this complaint came from a couple who hired an attorney whom they had determined had the requisite knowledge and experience to handle their case. But as it turned out, the attorney promptly handed over most of the work in the case to other attorneys in his office. And as the case drug on (and on), more and more attorneys wound up working on their case.
The couple thought that they were being overcharged because too many attorneys were working on their case. They had put this question to the attorney they had initially hired, but did not feel that had gotten a satisfactory response. And because of this issue as well as other billing issues, they turned to me.
There should be no question that participation by too many lawyers in a matter can lead to overcharging. See Annotated Model RPC (8th ed. 2015) at p. 81, Comments to Rule 1.5 (“Participation by too many lawyers is another kind of overlawyering that can result in an unreasonable fee.”). But how many lawyers is “too many?”
One of the ways you can tell if the right amount of attorneys is working on a case is by looking at . . .
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