Can a lawyer charge set fee for similar tasks?

Home Legal Fee Forum Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Can a lawyer charge set fee for similar tasks?

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    • #1376

      Every time similar tasks are performed, and related work product is created, I am being charged same amount. Is it OK for an attorney to bill in this manner?

    • #1377

      It seems that you are referring to what is known as “set charges”. Set charges are standardized charges or a specified amount of time for a particular work product, regardless of the actual time expended. The issue with these types of charges are that they do not accurately reflect the actual time spent in completing the billable activity. Most companies do not accept such set charges or standard minimum charges for tasks. In fact, there are several companies that specify in their billing guidelines that the company will only pay for the actual, reasonable and necessary time spent for completing billable activities. Courts in some jurisdictions (i.e. Florida) have similarly agreed that, what is sometimes referred to as “unit billing”, disregards the actual time spent on the legal work and results in an unreasonable billing practice. Further, the American Bar Association has indicated that it is unethical to charge clients more time than the attorney actually spends on completing work. So in answer to your question, if find that you are being charged the same amount of time for a particular task, it is worth investigating further to determine whether your lawyer is engaging in the unethical billing practice or “set charges” or “unit billing”.

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