Tuesday, November 6, 2012
A justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered a suspension of a year and a day of an attorney who had billed excessive hours in two matters. The attorney knowingly spent more time than was necessary in order to increase the bills to clients.
The attorney was a salaried law firm employee who was eligible for additional compensation based on his hours worked and fees collected.
In both matters, he billed for unnecessary and duplicative services. In one of the matters, he billed over 600 hours by charging the client in a products liability matter daily blocks of significant time over a six-month period. In a professional services defense matter, the attorney billed over 150 hours.
The law firm returned fees to each client.
This case is a bit unusual. While there are many cases of discipline for inflating hours, here it appears that the attorney performed services that were not necessary to the representation. (Mike Frisch)