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My legal billing - should I pay this, or fight it?
Old 02-28-2011, 07:28 PM   #1
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My legal billing - should I pay this, or fight it?

Long story short, I received a billing from my lawyer for “re-work” required to fix her mistake. She filed my court judgement dated January 2010 instead of 2011. The judge didn’t catch the mistake, signed it, and the filing went through. When I received a copy of the paperwork, I noticed the incorrect date. I asked my attorney to get it fixed. She refiled with the court and I now have a corrected copy.... and a billing for all costs associated with the revision.

This business practice doesn’t seem fair. I’m considering complaining to the lawyer... and maybe the State Bar.

For you lawyers and retired lawyers... would you charge your client to fix a problem that was entirely your fault?
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:42 PM   #2
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IMHO billing of that nature is unethical. Unless you feel strongly about having or wanting to work with that lawyer again, I would gently confront her with your position and escalate if she resists (maybe a grievance with the local bar association).

Many years ago I had a similar scenario: legal bill was in error, I called, they corrected the mistake and billed me to fix it. Probably just a paper error, but frustrating.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:47 PM   #3
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Does the attorney know that you are upset about this? Perhaps her billing is done by a computer or secretary. Revisions at the request of the client are usually billable.

Perhaps it was just a billing error.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:49 PM   #4
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This seems to be happening as of late. I'm still in a pissing match over an accounting error with my estate attorney. They overstated a payment, two other attorney's and the judge missed it. I caught it and was prompted to take some of the blame for the mistake since I signed the document. The attorney and his boss have been arguing over the cost of recovery with me and they don't want to just write off the mistake or accept responsibility for it. So far, I haven't had to pay any attorney costs and have collected $564 of the $1128 overpayment, but implied if they need to go back to court for collection, I'll be responsible for the court time to collect. I get the impression billing is priority #1 to our (yours and mine) attorneys.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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I assume you did not review anything prior to it getting signed? If not, then yes, I think you are due the credit. I agree however with FreeAtLast- she herself may not be aware of the billing.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:10 PM   #6
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Call her, tell her that you received the bill are are annoyed that the firm billed you for the time to fix their mistake and see what she has to say. I'm guessing that she will kill the bill or at least cut if in half.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:29 PM   #7
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Send her a check with the wrong date on it...
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizlady View Post
I assume you did not review anything prior to it getting signed? If not, then yes, I think you are due the credit. I agree however with FreeAtLast- she herself may not be aware of the billing.
I was not given the opportunity to review the paperwork. In my county, the lawyer is able to file on behalf of the client without client signature. My first view was post filing.

I like Westernskies' suggestion of sending a check with the wrong date - that's funny!
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Life_is_Good View Post

For you lawyers and retired lawyers... would you charge your client to fix a problem that was entirely your fault?
No.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:44 AM   #10
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From an accountant... NO...

If I made an error, fixing the error is on my dime... it should be on your lawyer's dime also...


But, a call should fix this... the lawyer probably put it down in the book and someone else billed... now, this is bad in that the lawyer should look at all bills that goes to clients and never let this one out the door...

If the lawyer does not 'fix' the problem, get a new lawyer and do not pay this one..



On a similar vein, when my wife had foot surgery the doc wanted her to go to physical therapy and something else... I said 'as long as it is covered by insurance we will do it'... we get a bill from them for something that insurance refused to pay... I ignored it for a long time.. but then it went to collections... wrote to them about the bill and my statement... never heard from them again... I should not have ignored the bill thinking that they would fix it without some input from me...
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:48 PM   #11
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I was invoiced by my accountant to correct an error in a FUTA return they had filed and invoiced me. I called it to the attention of the partner and the invoice was cancelled with an apology.
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:50 PM   #12
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FIRE'd attorney here. Obviously the billing is a mistake, and once the attorney with authority to undo the billing understands that it will be undone.

That said, it is understandably annoying to the client to not only have to notice the original mistake but also the billing mistake. This law office may have some serious workflow and staff problems. The clerical and bookkeeping people working for the attorney may be playing a little turf game as to who will take the blame for the mistakes.

The way I would handle this if I were the client would be to write "Rejected" on the mistaken line item of the bill and not pay that item (assuming there are other undisputed charges.) Return the bill with your payment of the other items. Highlight "Rejected." Staple the bill to the check, three places. Address a customized envelope to the attorney and write "Personal and confidential" on the front of the envelope. Also staple your business card with "[attorney first name] call me" hand-written on it. If the mistake is not fixed pronto, take your business elsewhere.
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