Engagement Letter

During the decades that I worked in Biglaw, I occasionally felt put upon by clients.

“You won’t pay for travel time? Why not? I’m not flying to Philadelphia for my health. And I’m sure not on vacation. If you want me to travel to Philadelphia, then you pay for the time I kill making the trip.”

But many clients felt very differently about it.

“If you’re doing productive work on my matter, then I’ll pay. If you’re flying around the country reading a novel, then I won’t pay. You surely don’t expect us to pay for time that you choose to make unproductive?”

[Or, in some situations: "If you want to handle a matter that's based in Philadelphia, then you eat the time (and travel costs) of getting there. If that's not acceptable to you, then we'll hire a Philadelphia firm. Do you want the matter?"]

These discussions strike me as fair fights. There are things that law firms plainly should not charge clients for, things they plainly should, and the middle ground, where fights are arguably fair. Today, I’m walking the middle ground . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: What Really Is Billable?”

Be forewarned: I’m citing case law here, so if that scares you, stop reading now.

There are two things lawyers are doing wrong when it comes to scope of representation, as in, “What is your obligation to this client?”

The failure to comprehend this critical concept begins when you are retained, and rears its head again when the representation is over.

So let’s talk about the dumbass things you are doing to complicate your life, and how to fix them.

First, understand that there are few things more important than a “scope of representation” clause in your retainer agreement….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Practice: Do You or Your Client Understand the Scope of Representation? (Part I)”