DLA Piper Responds to Charge That Emails Prove Firm Overbilled

, New York Law Journal

   | 3 Comments

The law firm in a public statement said: "We hold ourselves to the highest legal and ethical standards. The behavior as described is unacceptable to DLA Piper and our clients. The emails were in fact an offensive and inexcusable effort at humor, but in no way reflect actual excessive billing."

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What's being said

  • TransparentBusiness

    DLA Piper’s inability to acknowledge even the possibility of wrongdoing in the face of concrete evidence should be a further warning sign for DLA Piper clients. How was this firm able to determine that billing fraud was not committed without launching a full investigation into the matter? Unfortunately, this suit only highlights the fact that proving billing fraud was committed is a drawn-out and arduous task with no guarantees for recovery of losses. No firm will admit to wrongdoing willingly and one that encourages overbilling as a systematic strategy, least of all.

    While billing fraud is difficult to prove, its prevention is actually relatively easy. www.TransparentBusiness.com is a webbased application that allows clients to monitor the activities of their remote service providers such as lawyers, writers, web developers, and PR professionals. This tool captures screenshots of remote activity and makes these available to the client in real time and retrospectively. Automatic time and project tracking features make it virtually impossible for a lawyer to pad his bills by claiming he worked longer hours than he actually did.

  • Cheri Andrews

    Unfortunately, my experience with DLAPiper closely mirrors that in the over-billing allegations - too many attorneys assigned to one matter, unneccessary research on tangential issues - even with a signed Agreement that limited the number of attorneys to be sent to depositions and hearings and required prior approval for research, every month the bills contained unauthorized charges. It does appear to be their corporate culture.

  • Harold R. Berk

    I wonder if Mr. Meltzer of DLA Piper would sign an affidavit of his own personal knowledge that the emails were attempt s to be "humorous." Rather I 'll bet those emails were true views of life n the tenches at DLA Piper where the associates probably have billing expectations of 1,800 to 2,000 hours per year and will look for any opportunity to bill a large matter in order to keep their job and income.

    The problem is the uncontrolled and umlimited billable hour which has the perverse effect of rewarding inefficiency with higher revenue. The billable hour does protect the lawyer from the unforeseen issues not evident when the matter is opened or clients not exactly being forthcomig with all the facts, but it needs controls, limits and periodic reviews to determine if legal services being provided are not only competent but also efficient.

    My views form 42 years of law practice

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