From AP: Question: what can attorneys bill for or not bill for. How to dispute a legal bill

What attorneys can bill for (per billing rules at most large law firms):What attorneys can bill for (per billing rules at most large law firms):
Preparing pleadings 1 hour or $200 per page (attorneys should keep drafts day by day), depending on complexity.  Set a reasonable rate in advance with the attorney.
Put your attorney on a budget of expenditures per month or per task.
Legal Research:  Billing ok for:  Esoteric legal research .5 hrs to read a case, as long as cases are not unusually long .Attorneys should not bill for easy stuff they should already know like how to do an appeal brief, how to prepare a deed, how to prepare court forms, etc. Attorneys should save their list of cases they read if the client asks.
Reading or reviewing an email or pleading. Attorneys should only bill for actually writing a letter, motion or appeal brief and then it should only be 1/2 hour per page for routine motions (extension of time, motions to withdraw, etc.).  Disputing a will or trust will be more or for more complex pleadings.
Attorneys should not bill to write up an email and then call you to tell you the same stuff.  However, if you talk to an attorney, the attorney CAN bill you for confirming what was said during the conversation in a letter or email, and should make it clear in writing any important legal advice as to what to do or not to do.
No charges for secretarial time, organizing a file, making labels for a file, making a pleadings book, etc.  That should be built into overhead.  Overhead is not billable.
Travel time should not be charged, but waiting in court can be charged.  An attorney should try to have 2 or 3 motions calls per am or pm and then charge the client a proportionate share.  Say the attorney has 3 calls and starts at 9 am and leaves at 1 pm.  That’s 4 hours of work.  If s/he had 3 court calls, then each client can be billed 1.25.
Have an agreement on what, if anything, can be billed for travel time.  Argue that an attorney should not charge for travel time from a suburban building to a downtown court.
Duplicate bills.  Two bills for reviewing the same email, same correspondence by different attorneys or paralegals.
Reviewing correspondence that is not necessary to your case.  Reviewing case law not essential to your case or which is common to their field of law they should know updates on
Filing unnecessary pleadings to the case.  (Like updating a record on appeal over and over when documents are not clearly needed. These can be added as an exhibit)
If in doubt get a second opinion on your bills.
Late filed appearances should be a no no.  If your attorney takes a chunk of money (typically $3,000 to $10,000) to file an appearance, they should file their appearance right way.  If not, ask for the money back and hire another attorney.  Once you pay an attorney you should not have to dread opening up your mail to find another nasty, scathing letter from opposing counsel containing another bunch of ridiculous threats (such as taking your first born) that you don’t understand.  That’s your attorney’s job to take the stress off of you.
A pox on attorneys who take $5,000 and then don’t file an appearance for weeks on end and then at the last minute before a hearing.
A double pox on attorneys who take $5,000, don’t file an appearance for weeks, and then withdraw the day before a hearing and then you don’t even have money to hire another attorney for the hearing while they take their sweet time to return your money, or they dispute returning it with silly excuses.
A triple pox on attorneys at the disciplinary boards who you file complaints with, which are wholly ignored because they cover up for lying, cheating, scheming, dishonest attorneys that take your money and do nothing.
Other online articles on attorney billing

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