Canadian Lawyer Magazine
The art and science of legal bill review -- New entrants to Canadian market set sights on advising in-house on law firm invoices
The mystery and minutiae behind law firm legal bills are things in-house counsel love to rant about, but those who have frequently been burned are finding ways to get clarity.
“Some of the activities that show up on legal bills defy belief, causing me to wonder whether anybody actually looked at the bill before it went out,” says Dean Scaletta, director, information and litigation, in the legal department of Manitoba Public Insurance. >> Read More
You Charged For What?! Red-Flag Bills
TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Sterling Analytics Canada, the first and only legal fee consulting and advisory firm in Canada, announced its launch today. The firm will manage, review and audit legal billings on behalf of mid- to large-size businesses that retain outside counsel and have a significant legal spend. Clients can expect to receive a savings of up to 20 per cent in the first month alone through Sterling Analytics Canada's assistance in reducing their legal costs. >> Read More
The American Lawyer
You Charged For What?! Red-Flag Bills
Lawyers always find creative ways to bill, says Marci Waterman, a managing director at Sterling Analytics Group LLC, in Woodbury, New York, part of a growing band of legal bill auditors. "If you tell a lawyer they can't bill for one thing, they'll find a way to bill the time for something else," she says. "But clients are now really scrutinizing bills and pushing them to justify their charges." >> Read More
Who Reps America's Biggest Companies: You Want Me To Pay For What?
Betsy McCoy knew something was wrong. The general counsel received 130 "nicely packaged" bills from one of her regular outside law firms. As she pored through them, she says that every single bill had a mysterious charge of anywhere from $50 to $1,900. When she examined them more closely, she read that the charge was for storing her computer files on the firm's network.
"I went off the deep end," says the VP of Miami-based real estate developer The Related Group. "What the hell?" To her amazement, the charges amounted to some $37,000. >> Read More
The Wall Street Journal
Law Firms Face Fresh Backlash Over Fees
October 22, 2012 - "The changes represent a shift from the way many law firms are accustomed to doing business. 'Ten to 15 years ago there were only a couple of corporations that took this seriously,' says a legal-fee consultant and managing director at Sterling Analytics Group LLC. 'Legal bills were considered untouchable.' Big law firms used to bill their clients for everything from word processing to photocopies and faxes—so-called soft costs firms incurred while doing client work. Those charges came on top of lawyers' hourly rates." >> Read More
Five great ways to manage outside legal costs
July 11, 2011 - "In our experience, if such costs aren’t managed properly, they can inflate to anywhere between 20 and 40 percent over what they should have been. This is because most attorneys will not discipline themselves to follow billing practices to the same extent that they would if a corporation used recognized industry best practices." >> Read More
Ways to Lower Outside Counsel Costs
May 16, 2011 - "Monitoring outside counsel costs can seem like a drag, especially when the legal fees rack up over time, but it’s a crucial consideration – and the best way to manage the expenses is for the in-house lawyer to take a deep breath, step up to the plate and do so actively." >> Read More
“Grazing,” Photocopying And Other Tricks Inflate Legal Bills
>May 11, 2011 - "What Paige is really attacking is an entire business model, the big-firm practice of hiring armies of associates and paying them $50 an hour while charging the clients $250 or more. The latest Baker & Hostetler bill lists some 300 associates billing at rates as high as $557 an hour and more than 60 paralegals and clerks billing at an average of $250 an hour.” >> Read More
Also, see the Gallery: Nine Ways Lawyers Inflate Their Legal Bills
Are you paying for you law firm's overhead?
April 27, 2011 - "Frequent buyers of legal services know full well that most law firms have sky-high profit margins. But what they don’t know is, despite those generous margins, many law firms continue to bill their clients for overhead costs including air conditioning and conference room use. In short, many clients are not only paying for legal advice, but also for running their lawyers’ firms." >> Read More
Madoff trustee wants $43 million more in pay
April 19, 2011 - "The chief executive and founder of Sterling Analytics, which analyzes legal fees, said there are 'too many attorneys on the case, all with very high average hourly rates.'"
An attorney who drew his information from summaries produced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the lawyers were being paid an average hourly rate of $549. He said the charges include $65,000 for online research, which is the highest he's ever seen for one case, as well as $32,000 for copying and $10,000 for meals." >> Read More