Friday, January 28, 2011

Itemized Billing v. Block Billing

In billing a client, should a lawyer provide the total daily time spent working on a case (block billing) or itemize the time spent on each specific task (itemized billing)? In an article in the Washington State Bar News (Jan 2011), attorney Michael Caryl gives this example:

Block billing

10/10/2010: Phone conf. with expert Jones; review documents for cross prep; msgs to and from client re files etc.; prepare cross and exhibits for defendant; msgs to and from court.

Total: 4.0 hours

Itemized billing

10/10/2010: Phone conf. with expert Jones (.4) review documents for four hours cross prep (.8); msgs to and from client re files etc. (.3); prepare cross and exhibits for defendant (2.4); msgs to and from court (.1)

Total: 4.0 hours

Although many attorneys find block billing more convenient, Mr. Caryl argues that courts, academics, and consumers disapprove of it. When lawyers employ block billing, courts sometimes reduce fee awards. He predicts that in his state, the Washington Supreme Court will address the practice in the Rules of Professional Conduct.

(ljs)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2011/01/itemized-billing-v-block-billing.html

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