What can I do when I don’t understand my legal bill?

Home Legal Fee Forum Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) What can I do when I don’t understand my legal bill?

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    • #1372

      Sometimes I can’t understand what an attorney is charging me for. How descriptive does an attorney need to be in detailing the work he/she is charging for?

    • #1373

      The time entries on a legal invoice should be sufficiently clear so that the reader can understand the substantive work that was completed and its value in moving the client’s matter forward. This means that an attorney has a duty to explain the activities they are charging for to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions about the representation. Both generally accepted commercial standards and legal standards re-iterate this principle. Commercial standards require that descriptions for tasks be sufficiently detailed so that the reviewer can determine if the time spent on the task was reasonable. Courts have taken a similar approach and frequently hold that if billing records are vague, a reduction in fees is appropriate. The courts reason that such vague entries prevent the court from assessing the reasonableness of the time expended in relation to the work performed. Consequently, it is both a generally accepted commercial standard and legal standard that legal invoices should contain time entries that are sufficiently clear where the reader can understand the work completed and the value of the work in relation to the matter.

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