Your Rights to Challenge Legal Costs

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Nor should the client be overly concerned that the “system” will protect the lawyer. Given the legion of cases where attorneys` fees are not allowed, it is difficult to argue that the system is biased against the client. Judges are former lawyers who often accept a pay cut when they leave the field of law. Of course, some judges will identify with lawyers. Others will remember their greedy former colleagues and be inclined to favor the customer. Most will simply preside over the case without prejudging either party. Always indicate that you dispute the invoice before facing claims and threats for invoices you are not aware of. The reason for this is that, if, for example, you receive a legal claim or anything else, make sure you declare that you are already “disputed”. Clients are best served when they resolve a fee issue as early as possible. Good, honest lawyers will explain why your bill says what it says.

They will admit errors when warranted and suggest ways to minimize costs without compromising results in the future. If your lawyer is not willing to discuss bills, you should raise your concerns in writing and consider ending the relationship. Of course, if you think you`ve been overbilled, you may want to fire your lawyer, or the relationship can be sour on both sides, so there`s no point in moving forward. However, it may be better to keep your lawyer than to try to find another one – the lawyer will have fiduciary responsibilities, misconduct, and a duty of due diligence as long as they represent you. Before practicing, I had hired legal counsel myself and was disappointed by the inexplicably high costs I once faced. Fortunately, after studying law and working in the field, I was able to identify costs that seemed questionable to me. For example, I once remember the fee in the timebook to “research” a particular case. I also noticed a lot of time to read one- or two-page letters, like 30/45 minutes, that a child in a grade 7 English class at school could have read in 5 minutes. All these were signs of excessive sedentarization. Finally, after the bill was challenged at the Senior Courts Costs Office and torn up with the help of a cost subscriber, the bill was reduced from £36,000 plus VAT to £12,000, yes £24,000 overcalculation in my opinion.

There are many examples of these cases when you go to the Disciplinary Division of the Lawyer Regulatory Authority and look for cases where sanctions have been imposed for mismanagement of “client funds”. While a summary of attorneys` fees law is far beyond the scope of this article, a steady stream of state and federal court decisions in recent years has struck down some billing practices that are still relatively common. Some examples of billing practices that are often perceived as inappropriate: For the client who receives an unreasonably high bill that is the result of unethical advocacy, waste or incompetence, these concerns can be overcome with a reasonable and controlled approach. There are steps you can take during and after the undertaking to communicate your concerns to your lawyer. Proper review of invoices often leads to a mutually agreed discount and can even strengthen the customer relationship. If all else fails, the fee dispute provides significant relief from some relatively common examples of extra-billing by a lawyer, while protecting a lawyer`s right to reasonable fees. Ten points clients should keep in mind: A lawyer should not normally profit from unethical behavior that harms his client.

This provides another reason for the possible challenge to attorneys` fees, even if the attorneys` fees are otherwise reasonable. If the ethical violation is minor or unrelated to the fees charged to the client, courts are less likely to order forfeiture of fees. If the breach is serious and more closely related to costs, partial or total confiscation is likely. The downside of not discussing billing issues with your attorney is significant. You lose the chance to receive a mutually agreed discount. The billing practice that offends you will undoubtedly continue. Finally, if the fee dispute is the subject of litigation or dissolution, your lawyer will argue that you have agreed to the disputed billing practice. Always remember that you are hiring a service. You have the right to dispute the costs you have to bear. If any of the above scenarios occur, step in and ask the prosecution or why so many lawyers need to be involved. Remember that this is your right.

If you would like a professional to be advised on the subject, you will find below my contact details. Lawyers have put forward a variety of reasons when defending themselves in court, but I think one is particularly interesting. She reported in the Law Gazette last year that a trainee lawyer had overbilled, and in her defense, she said it was due to excessive hours of work and unrealistic targets imposed on her by her law firm. She said fear drove her to do so and that she was not disciplined. While it may be the case that some firms impose high targets on staff lawyers, the client still has the right to dispute their bill, the firm`s objectives should not be used as an excuse to overcharge the client. Like other businesses and professions, lawyers can take steps to collect debts. However, the lawyer`s unique role as trustee and legal advisor places more restrictions on his or her conduct than other professionals. These arbitration programs can save on attorneys` fees because the practice of discovery and motion is virtually non-existent. In traditional litigation or even in other commercial arbitration forums, attorneys` fees can easily exceed $25,000. Therefore, in cases where a relatively small amount is disputed, Law Society-sponsored arbitration programs provide the best opportunity for a client to dispute fees.