Holding Greedy Lawyers Responsible: Using a Legal Fee Expert

A legal fee expert is a special type of expert. He or she is someone who provides information and testimony regarding standard legal protocols and processes. A legal fee expert may be retained if a client believes that he or she has been overcharged by an attorney by questionable billing methods, overcharges for routine tasks or takes advantage of additional costs in order to pad his or her billing. Such an expert is often retained after several attempts to get straight answers from a slippery lawyer are unsuccessful.

A legal fee expert can examine billing statements that an attorney has provided to his or her client. He or she usually has a firm understanding of the approximate amount of time that a task should take, so he or she can examine whether the client has likely been charged for too many billable hours.

He or she then compares a typical industry standard with the information provided through the attorney’s billing statements. While every lawyer is different and some disparity may be expected, significant deviations between the amount of time the expert would have predicted certain tasks would take and the actual amount of time the attorney billed for can be a sign of client abuse. While an attorney may try to explain away such disparities, a legal expert witness is an independent individual who can investigate when things do not seem to add up.

Armed with this information, a client can then discuss possible ways that he or she can proceed with a case against his or her lawyer. A client may decide to pursue litigation with the help of a new attorney. Alternatively, he or she may choose to resolve the claim through mediation, having the legal expert witness’ fee report handy as a useful tool. Another option the client may consider is whether to report the lawyer for ethical violations.

What Is A Legal Fee Audit?

If you believe that you have been overcharged by your attorney, you may attempt to work out the matter on your own first. If that does not yield results, or if you are still questioning the fees and number of hours that have been spent on your case, you may want to connect with a legal expert witness for the purposes of a fee audit.

In a legal fee audit, the professional you have hired will want to see a broken down cost of the hours spent on your case. After careful review of your type of case, the facts involved, and the possible amount of research and other time invested into crafting a quality case, your legal expert witness will compare this information with your actual billing information from the attorney.

Each case is unique, and you should factor that into the services that might be provided by a legal expert witness. If you have tried to resolve things with your attorney but your questions are not being answered in a manner that gives you confidence, you may need to escalate the situation by contacting a professional to conduct an audit. No client should be responsible for paying for services that were unnecessary or took too long, but unfortunately some lawyers and firms engage in this behavior simply because they have the opportunity to do so. If you have been a victim, you need to be aware of when to contact someone else to help you resolve this dispute.

An audit of the work and hours done by an attorney should be completed by an outside professional who has insight into typical legal cases and the amount of time that various tasks can take. Contact an expert today to get the ball rolling on your dispute.

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