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Beware of Block Billing

July 25, 2012

“Block Billing” occurs where an attorney lumps multiple tasks under one billing entry.  Thus, instead of separately listing each task and time, the attorney will list multiple tasks under one time entry.  The problem with this practice – from a client’s perspective – is that it allows lawyers to conceal the actual time spent on each task and prevents the determination of whether individual tasks were performed in a reasonable time.  In other words, it is a great way to bill pad.  In fact, an arbitration advisory by the California State Bar states that block billing “hides accountability and may increase time by as much as 10% to 30%”.  That’s no small potatoes.

I recently came across a great post that discusses the practice – and it’s disapproval – on the California Attorney’s Fees blog: “Block Billing: Commentators Disapprove the Practice and Courts Have Wide Discretion in Disregarding Block Billed Entries Altogether or Reducing by a Reasonable Percentage“.

While I might recommend a shorter title, it is an excellent overview on arguments against the very prevalent practice of block billing.  Good work guys.

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