My most recent post — about a December 17, 2019 article entitled “10 Ways That Outside Counsel Disguise Overbilling” — cited a case where an expert in auditing law firms’ bills for inaccuracies found this:
“The law firm charged 5.1 hours for work on a confidentiality agreement where opposing counsel had already provided a comprehensive draft agreement for comment and markup … This time is excessive. We propose the charge be reviewed to a total of 2.5 hours: 2.0 for analysis and markup of the draft agreement, and 0.5 for negotiation of points with opposing counsel.”
The legal bill auditor’s point: This law firm charged 5.1 hours times the attorney’s billing rate for a task that should have consumed half of that.
But I saw another point:
What’s any lawyer doing consuming 5.1 hours in creating a confidentiality agreement? Or consuming even half of that?
5.1 hours might have been justified. I’d need to know more in order to make a definitive judgment.
A lawyer charging a client for 5.1 hours — or even 2.5 hours — to conclude a “confidentiality agreement”, is a big … red … flag.