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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big Firm "Bill Padding"

Over the last several months we've had a case against a fairly large Chicago firm regarding a dissolution of marriage and it has been fairly eye-opening and borderline laughable to view first-hand the techniques they use to run up legal fees against their client (unnecessarily I would say). The two most blatant techniques:

1. Send 2 attorneys to each court date. Look, I've tried cases a couple times where I had a second chair attorney. For a certain breed of trial with great complexity this is surely appropriate. But sending two attorneys to each court date many of which are just status hearings to get a new date? Come, come.

2. Draft letters to confirm what a court order says. I was most aghast at this one. As a simple example, we'd have a court date and say a court order got entered that read "Father shall have visitation on Tuesdays from 3pm to 9pm." I'm not the sharpest mind grant you but I have a decent grasp of the English language and the words of that Order are clear. But lo-and-behold, 1-2 days after court we'd get an extensive letter faxed over that in short will state something like, "we're writing just to confirm that Father will have visitation on Tuesdays from 3pm to 9pm." Bam, another hour billed!

So if you're looking for a good attorney and you're attracted to that big firm pedigree with the penthouse office space, fine, but just be on notice about how all those expenses will impact your bottom-line as client each month!

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