As part of your law practice management, you may occasionally use the service of contract attorneys. These are attorneys who generally charge a relatively low price for their legal services and who perform tasks such as document review. They are often hired through a third party service and help out with big cases that are paperwork intensive, such as securities cases.
Hiring contract attorneys is pretty standard in the industry and these attorneys may bill out at around $40 to $60 on average. However, the question of contract attorney fees has recently become a hot topic and was discussed in a recent ABA Law Journal article.
The Markup on Legal Fees for Contract Attorneys
According to the ABA Law Journal, the issue of how much to charge for the work of a lower priced contract attorney has come to the forefront because of litigation involving Citigroup. The plaintiff’s law firm, as part of a request for attorney fees, requested payment of $1,000 per hour for some of the contract attorneys fees…. Quite a markup for lawyers who were probably paid well under $100 per hour.
The ABA Law Journal went on to explain that a Forbes article had indicated that these contract attorneys should bill out at a market rate of $250 to $500.
Whether the protestor who is objecting to the $1000 per hour legal fees request is going to be successful in raising an objection or not remains to be seen, but in the meantime those engaged in law practice management should think carefully about just what level of markup is reasonable for a contract attorney.