There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Backlash Building Against Legal Fees” by Jennifer Smith (10/22/12) which cited that a number of companies, especially larger companies, were scrutinizing legal bills much closer. What a great idea for these companies to check their bills much closer and demand a reasonable approach.
The article cited that many companies were not approving excessive charges for copies, food, legal research, first class travel, word processing, faxes and other similar charges. Many of these companies are not approving such charges and expect the attorney and law firm to have these charges built into their normal hourly rates.
I read this article with much interest given my profession. I have to admit, I too was surprised to find that some firms were charging for the items the article pointed out. We have occasion to review bills from other firms from time to time and are sometimes surprised to learn what other firms charge and how they go about it.
When legal challenges arise, most of us want to hire the best attorney possible. Often times, the best Attorney with experience in the market has a higher rate. That is understandable and probably reasonable. However, in today’s marketplace, service providers are expected to provide services efficiently and effectively. To do so otherwise is unreasonable and unacceptable in the eyes of most clients.
Trust is a huge component in hiring any professional. Trusting that the person you hire will treat you fairly and with reasonable charges is paramount in any relationship. If for any reason questions arise, hopefully the relationship is strong enough to survive an honest discussion as to what is best for each party. Trust, it is a powerful piece of most relationships.