Reply To: Is there a limit on how many attorneys can charge for work on the same document?
Home › Legal Fee Forum › Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) › Is there a limit on how many attorneys can charge for work on the same document? › Reply To: Is there a limit on how many attorneys can charge for work on the same document?
Courts have termed what you are describing as “excessive staffing” or “multi-teaming”. These terms refer to instances where there are more staff than necessary assigned to efficiently complete the same task or where staff are shown to duplicate efforts (i.e. where multiple staff “review and revise” the same document repeatedly). Most commercial standards indicate that the company will not pay for more than one attorney to attend hearings, meetings, conference calls, depositions, etc. or for excessive review or revision of another timekeeper’s work. Further, most commercial standards also indicate that the company expects the partner in charge of the matter to staff the matter appropriately. This includes staffing assignments with the appropriate level of expertise (i.e. an attorney should not be staffed to an assignment that can be completed by a paralegal). Courts in most jurisdictions have taken the same approach, including the United States Supreme Court. When the United States Supreme Court encountered this issue, it opined that attorneys are ethically obligated to make a good faith effort to exclude hours that are excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary. Given this reasoning and the commercial standards, instances where multiple attorneys or paralegals are found to be duplicating efforts or unnecessarily working on the same document, are likely to be objectionable charges.