The National Association of Legal Fee Analysis (NALFA) is a federal tax-exempt group organized under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(6). As such, we act as the professional governing body for the legal fee analysis profession. As a 501(c)(6) organization, NALFA devotes itself to advancing the lines of business and representing the professional interests of the legal fee analysis profession.
Our mission is to help ensure quality and reliability across the legal fee analysis profession, regardless of membership status. Our standard for analyzing and evaluating attorney fees and expenses is reasonableness. Our members observe proven methodologies and adhere to the proper standard of reasonableness when reviewing attorney fees. Our members follow Best Practices in Legal Fee Analysis.
NALFA has been quoted or cited by 11 different media outlets: Bloomberg News, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg BNA, ALM's American Lawyer, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Insurance Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Daily Journal, and ALM's Daily Business Review.
1. What is legal fee analysis?
Legal fee analysis is the comprehensive review and analysis of attorney fees and costs in an outside legal matter. Professionals who perform outside legal fee analysis include attorney fee experts, special fee masters, bankruptcy fee examiners, fee dispute mediators, and legal bill auditors.
2. What is the difference between attorney fee experts and legal bill auditors?
Attorney fee experts provide expert opinion on the reasonableness of attorney fees. Legal bill auditors provide a breakdown (i.e. tables, charts, summaries) of legal tasks performed in legal invoices.
3. When should I retain an attorney fee expert?
Generally, it is considered a litigation best practice to retain a fee expert on multi-million dollar attorney fee matters. On routine fee matters, of less than $1 million, fee-seeking attorneys can serve as their own fee experts. But on large scale attorney fee and legal billing matters, you should retain a fee expert before the fee-setting stage in the litigation. The work required to provide a meaningful review and in-depth analysis may take several weeks.
4. Why should I retain a NALFA fee expert?
As fact-finders, judges have relied on, and often cite our fee experts favorably in their rulings. NALFA fee experts can provide a fee-seeking attorney or fee-challenging attorney with the Rule 26 expert report required to succeed in court.
5. Why should judges use NALFA fee experts in fee dispute matters?
NALFA fee experts can assist judges in determining the reasonableness of attorney fees through expert forensic analysis and testimony.
6. What type of reports and opinions can your attorney fee experts provide?
Our fee experts provide expert reports, opinions, and testimony on the 18 factors in attorney fee awards, including, but not limited to:
- Reasonable, Prevailing Hourly Rates
- Reasonableness of the Number of Hours Billed
- Percentage of the Fund: Fees in Relation to the Economic Value of the Settlement
- Successful Results Obtained for the Number of Client(s)
- Risk of the Litigation: Non-Payment
- Risk of the Litigation: Preclusion of Other Cases
- Quality of the Work and Representation
- Experience, Reputation, and Ability of the Attorneys
- Novelty and Difficulty of the Legal Issues in the Underlying Case
- Efficient Litigation Management Practices: Case Staffing and Task Assignments
- Economic Exposure: Fees in Relation to the Amount at Stake in the Underlying Case
- Fees in Relation to Similar Cases
- Nature of the Working Relationship with Opposing Counsel
- Customary Timekeeping Billing Practices
- Billing Judgment
- Public Policy Considerations
- Nature and Length of the Attorney-Client Relationship
- Fees in Relation to Fees of Opposing Counsel
7. How will NALFA assist me in finding the right fee expert for my case?
NALFA provides a step-by-step and case-specific approach to finding the right fee expert. First, we gather background information on nature of the attorney fees at issue. Second, we search our database to find the right fee expert most favorable for your case and within the right price range. Next, we arrange a conference call with the fee expert so you can discuss your case in further detail.
8. How does NALFA assist courts with large, complex fee disputes?
NALFA provides courts with our qualified fee expert's biographical background, including CV, biography, case summaries, and contact information upon request. Our fee experts can be appointed as Special Fee Masters to assist courts in large attorney fee allocation issues in MDL cases.
9. How have courts responded to NALFA fee experts?
Some of our fee expert's courtroom successes include:
In Bank v. Borrower (Ingham County, Michigan Circuit Court), attorney fee expert and NALFA member provide expert opinion testimony on behalf of Bank (testified by affidavit) regarding reasonable attorney fees owed to Bank by Borrower pursuant to contract provisions contained in documents associated with a $9,300,000 loan. The Court accepted Gallagher's expert opinion that Bank was owed attorney fees in reasonable amount of $247,121.
10. What is NALFA's Attorney Fee Dispute Mediation Program?
NALFA offers a mediation program specifically designed to resolve attorney fee disputes of all sizes. Our fee dispute mediators are uniquely qualified to sit down with parties and settle a fee dispute in a cost effective and confidential manner. Our fee dispute mediators are trained neutrals who understand the underlying issues in fee dispute cases. They include former judges, seasoned litigators, and in-house counsel. NALFA uses a customized approach for each fee dispute case.