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In Search of Perfect Client Service Why lawyers don't seem to get it

What were they thinking?

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, General

I can’t even make stuff like this up. Lawyers and invoices are a toxic combination, but the AmLaw 200 firms that are responsible for these examples have people who are supposed to prevent the lawyers from revealing their invoicing stupidity.  Here a couple of my favorite illustrations from an article too good to pass up:

• Submitting a series of bills that, together, resulted in one lawyer charging 42 hours in a single day. A lawyer at another firm billed just over 500 hours over 15 days—an average of more than 33 hours per day.

• Chartering a jet (and billing the client) to send New York lawyers to review documents in Virginia, rather than having them take a shuttle that flew every half hour.

• Billing a client 32 hours for a paralegal’s paid time off.

• Charging a client for document review work handled by a third-party vendor at a 320 percent markup. The firm also added the document review hours to its own bill, again at a 320 percent markup, resulting in a total overbilling of $6.3 million.

The lawyers who charged these expenses are corrupt. The firm that marked up the document review should be sued for fraud.  And all of the examples certainly suggest a lack of institutional values at the responsible firms. Sad.