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When you bill think of who will be paying for your time

Adequately billing for your time

When you bill think of who will be paying for your time

About Francis Rojas

Francis practices in the areas of employment and labor law. She focuses on helping workers who have experienced employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In addition, Francis counsels workers who have experienced wage and hour violations. Francis also advises workers in union organizing campaigns and assists unions with contract enforcement. She graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in 2008 and has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from Augsburg College. While in law school, Francis interned with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She also helped individuals and non-profit organizations through the William Mitchell Civil Advocacy Clinic and the Tax Planning Clinic. Francis was born in Bogotá, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish. Francis also speaks Japanese, French, Arabic, and German.

6 comments

  1. Francis,

    As a young attorney, I agree with everything in your post regarding the difficulty of learning the art of billing. However, another interesting take on this issue involves over specificity in billing statements.

    Do you see any potential discovery based problems/issues regarding overly specific invoices? For example, the statement, “Phone conference with X regarding Y” very well may be discoverable to the extent it does not involve client confidences or reveal litigation strategy.

    I don’t know what the proper balance is, if there even is one, but the issue is nonetheless interesting.

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. You’re absolutely correct that you need to be specific enough to give the client a clear idea of what it is you’re charging for, but one should also keep in mind that billing statements are not privileged per se. You don’t want to be so specific that you’re getting into attorney work product (for example, when describing your legal research) or attorney-client privileged communications (describing a call with the client).

  3. Nick,

    Thanks for your comment. From my experience, when it comes to getting your attorney fees from the court, you get the chance to redact from your entries anything that would be protected by Work Product or the Attorney Client privilege. From my review of the case law literature, if an entry has protected information, you get to redact it and the other side cannot view it.

    It is an interesting issue, and I’m glad you brought it up.

    Francis Rojas

  4. Also adding, as it was pointed out by Brett, that during the attorney fee petition stage, it is a fight that you will have to bring up to determine what portions of your bill should be privileged. At that point, the judge may review in camera the petition to determine if parts of the bill are privileged/protected or not.

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