LEGAL FEE INVOICES AND EXPERT
WITNESSES





Michael
Sean Quinn*

            Court
opinions from many states all stand for the proposition that only an attorney
can testify as to the reasonableness and hence the legal acceptability of a
legal bill. Typical is Woodhaven, Ltd. v.
Shamoun [and] Norman,
LLP, 422
S.W.3d 821 (Tex. App.–Dallas, 2014) no writ.

This is important
law because it is not unheard of for law firms to sue their clients for the
non-payment of fees.  Consequently, most
clients –all who are not themselves lawyers–cannot testify in court that the
fees charged charged them or that the bills presented to them were
unreasonable. This is the “black letter” law of the land. No questions about
it.

What sorts of things
may be involved here?


·       *Did L charge more
or less what other types of lawyers at that “rank” charge for that sort of work
in a given region?

·       *Was there any
padding in the bills?

·       *Were too many
lawyers involved in this or that project?

·       *Was the work in
accordance with the specified scope of the work?

·       *Was the work for
which a charge is being made done reasonably well under the circumstances?

·      
And so forth.

If one stops to
think about it, sense cannot be made out of the restriction included in the
prevailing law.

First and most
obviously, someone who was an attorney but isn’t any more, might well be an
expert on the topic

Second, and almost
as obvious, if someone isn’t yet an attorney but have been working on auditing
legal bills and overseeing lawyers (e.g., some types of insurance adjusters or
accountants).

Third, someone who
has been trained as a lawyer and never became one, but had been handling
supervising lawyer for a long time, should be able to testify.

Fourth, a risk
manager who has been dealing with lawyer for years on end may well be just as
good at judging bills and some areas of performance as any lawyers. (Some
insurance adjusters and some underwriters are like this.)

Fifth, a person in
business who has been involved and transactions and litigation for a good part
of his/her adult life might be qualified to be an expert.

Sixth, a business
person who has been dealing with the same firm for a long time might be an
expert.  This could happen if the quality
of the firm’s performances declined noticeable over time, and the client
representative was sometimes reasonably careful in watching what was going on.

Of course, there may
be other sorts of cases, and the particulars of this or that case might or
might not fit with the general categories I just quickly sketched out, or might
be able to off in the future.








Michael Sean Quinn, Ph.D., J.D., C.P.C.U. . . .

The Law Firm of Michael Sean Quinn et

Quinn and Quinn

                                                  1300 West Lynn Street, Suite 208

                                                              Austin, Texas 78703

                                                                  (512) 296-2594

                                                             (512) 344-9466 – Fax

                                                  E-mail:  mquinn@msquinnlaw.com


Originally posted on 09/09/2015 @ 9:18 pm

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc. (530)

One of Texas's leading insurance scholars, Michael Sean Quinn is a past chair of the Insurance Section of the State Bar of Texas and has a broad legal practice.

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