“Legal Secretary, a Dying Job: Positions Dwindle as Firms Cut Back; Younger Lawyers Type Their Own Briefs” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2013 The above headline appeared in a WSJ story last year that reported on the layoffs at the Weil, Gotshal & Manges firm.  The firm announced it was cutting about 60 associates and 110 staffers, including about 60 secretaries.  The...

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According to the Comments to Rule 1.5 in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (6th ed.), here are some ethical “no-no’s” that lawyers can be disciplined for when it comes to billing for their services: Bill Padding Double Billing Fees for Doing Nothing Fees for Doing Very Little Doing Way Too Much Doing Remedial Work Too...

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Does deception in legal billing invariably lead to deception in other areas? The answer to that question may be “yes” according to Prof. Lisa Lehman. In her law review article, Lying to Clients, 138 U. Pa. L. Rev. 659, she writes how easy it can be for one deception to lead to others. If an attorney “accepts the...

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Recently I had an individual come to me for help sorting out a large legal bill he had incurred with a BIG law firm. Although he incurred several hundred thousand in legal fees from this BIG law firm, the firm did little to resolve his legal problems.  So the individual had gone to an attorney at a small firm who was...

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In shopping around for a new lawyer, you may have noticed that many lawyers proudly advertise that they have been awarded the "Super Lawyer" designation.  As a matter of fact, with each new listing of Super Lawyers, more and more lawyers in the U.S. are being named Super Lawyers.  In fact, it might seem that before too...

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So, how did lawyers bill for their services before clocks were invented? Did early Roman lawyers use sundials to keep track of their time?  Hardly. History records that early lawyers (“advocates”) in the Roman Empire (as well as in ancient Greece) were expected to represent their fellow citizens in legal matters for free. Such service was...

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Attorney Douglas Richmond has written several scholarly articles on the subjects of attorney ethics and legal billing.   In Professional Responsibilities of Law Firm Associates, 45 Brandeis L. J. 199 (Winter 2007), Richmond expresses the view that attorneys who overbill their clients often will rationalize away their deceptions to clients that what they are doing is not stealing, but is “borrowing.” ...

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It seems so simple.  All an attorney has to do before a legal bill goes out is to review it for accuracy and make any necessary changes.  In fact, the ABA Task Force on Lawyer Business Ethics very succinctly instructs attorneys in its Lawyer’s Responsibility in Preparation of Invoices  that “The lawyer responsible for billing should review each invoice to ensure,...

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Probably not much at all except that you can say that both are in the business of delivering service. As such, both can be called ”vendors” of services although most attorneys bristle at the use of the term when applied to them. These thoughts passed through my mind one Saturday as I was driving home...

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