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Grisham: An Early Crusader Against Attorney Billing Abuse

May 21, 2012

“First they did the research, then they wrote the brief, then they rewrote it several times, then they responded to my brief and now they’re writing down Drummond’s arguments, which are taken directly from the briefs.  But they’re getting paid for this…the three of these young clones are scrawling aimlessly for around two hundred bucks an hour each.  Six hundred dollars.  Plus three-fifty an hour for Drummond.  That’s almost a thousand dollars an hour for what I’m witnessing.”

What Rudy Baylor was witnessing was four lawyers for the Great Benefit Life insurance company attend a hearing in John Grisham’s, The Rainmaker.  Using Grisham’s math, Great Benefit was paying $950 an hour for their crack legal team, and that was in Memphis, a small market, way back in 1995.  Rates have increased dramatically since then.  See “Rich Lawyers are Getting Richer Faster”.

So how does one combat such over billing?  For starters:

  1. Have a good litigation management plan in place BEFORE beginning any legal work.
  2. Be on the lookout for common areas of bill paddinginefficient billing, and other tricks of the trade.
  3. Vigilantly monitor your legal team and require them to stay on the plan. For tips on how to do this, see Helpful Tips to Ensure Compliance With Billing Guidelines and How to Avoid Jaw-Dropping Legal Bills.

Had Great Benefit Life used any or all of the above, perhaps they wouldn’t have gone bankrupt.

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