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Court Halved Attorney Time for “Fees on Fees”

In a recent case, a United States Magistrate Judge reduced an attorney’s rate by 50% with respect to work on a fee petition. See Collins v. D.C., No. 15-CV-00136 (KBJ), 2015 WL 7720464 (D.D.C. Nov. 30, 2015). In the case before the United States District Court, the plaintiff sought to recover attorney’s fees in connection with an administrative due process proceeding. The fee application included the attorney’s time spent preparing the petition itself and reviewing billing records.

In determining what constitutes a “reasonable” attorney’s fee, the court considered factors such as the complexity of issues, the work performed by the attorney and the manner in which the disputed issues were resolved. While allowing attorney’s legal work on the administrative proceeding at a higher rate (though still reduced by 25%), the Magistrate Judge concluded that the novelty and nature of preparing the fee application itself only warranted reimbursement at half of the normal attorney rate. Id. at 10.

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