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Litigation Billing Guidelines

The usual best practice for corporate and governmental law departments supervising outside law firms working on litigation consists of the development, implementation and compliance with a set of written guidelines which govern the overall management and conduct of litigation. Such guidelines set forth the requirements and expectations of the client and establish a clear set of “rules of the road” by which outside counsel is required to conduct themselves over the course of the litigation. The essential elements of such guidelines call for the performance of legal work in accordance with a specified set of requirements, budgets prepared in advance of performing any legal work, review and approval of the budgets by the client, the generation of legal bills that comply with the specified requirements and budgets, and review of the legal bills by the client to confirm compliance with the requirements.

These guidelines are designed to ensure that counsel retained in any given litigation possess the requisite qualifications, experience, expertise and resources to handle the matter in question. They establish a mechanism for communication and transparency regarding the management of the costs of the litigation, including fees, retention of experts as well as costs associated with the case. They call for the submission of budgets for each phase of the litigation to insure that the client has a clear understanding of the strategy proposed by outside counsel, work which counsel recommends be performed, and the costs associated with the proposed work. They establish a set of billing practices and procedures governing the tasks and activities the client deems appropriate and reimbursable and which practices and activities for which the client will not pay. These include issues involving all aspects of staffing, the conduct of discovery, briefing, communication with the client, frequency, format and substantive content of billing, requirements regarding expenses and overhead, use of vendors as well as what billing practices the client deems unacceptable.

Our expertise puts us in a strong position to assist your organization with the drafting and/or enhancing of these litigation billing guidelines in order to minimize fees and expenses and, more importantly, maximize communication and expectations between you and your outside counsel.

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Litigation Fee Experts from the Perspective of
Experienced Litigators and In-House Counsel