Increasing Hourly Rates During the Course of A Representation

[Note: This is the time of year that many clients will be getting notices or requests from their attorneys that their hourly rates will be increasing. Thus, I thought it would be a good idea to re-post something I did four years ago on the subject of increasing hourly rates during the course of a representation.]

If you recently have had any of your attorneys ask for a 5% increase in their billing rates you might want to refer them to Judge Richard Posner’s recent decision in Prather v. Sun Life . In that case, he found a 5% increase in billing rate to be “excessive!”

Just for kicks, I encourage you to read Judge Posner’s entire opinion in the Prather case. The Judge is well known for his often thought provoking opinions and statements on a wide variety of subjects. He also sometimes has an entertaining tongue-in-cheek way of presenting his opinions and Prather is an example of this.

But back to the subject of increases in billing rates. I often come across this issue in reviewing legal bills in cases or other legal matters which drag on for years. So I thought it time to set out some basic facts on the subject.

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