The Florida Bar

Lawyers: The New Racketeers?

Professionalism Resource Database

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Classification:Billable Hours
Date Published:04/04/1994
Title:Lawyers: The New Racketeers?
Source:Investor's Business Daily/ Robert S. Stein

Lawyer overbilling costs legal clients over $5 billion a year. Research into billing practices and the growing field of legal audits suggest that overbilling clients infests the legal profession.
Research shows that almost 20% of attorneys in private practice frequently bill two clients for work done at the same time. Another 32% double-bill, although they claim only "rarely".
Lawyers rationalize the practice of double billing: 38% believe is it ethical--- even if the clients are not informed.
William Ross, author of the book "The Ethics of Hourly Billing by Attorneys" found in his research that over 50% occasionally "pad" their hours.
Law firms with billing requirements are the reason some attorneys find the need to double bill---with double billing, an attorney can sometimes bill 60 hours in one day.
Billing by the hour tends to decrease the incentive for speedy work.
Article also cites ABA's response and guideline on hours billed and ethical billing.


[Revised: 07-28-2006]