The Ethics of Reviewing Outside Legal Fees:
Dedicated to the Legacy of Founding Member Bruce R. Meckler (1955-2016)
Legal fee analysis is the comprehensive review and analysis of attorney fees and costs by an outside party in a legal matter. Professionals who routinely perform outside or third-party legal fee analysis include attorney fee experts, special fee masters, bankruptcy fee examiners, fee dispute neutrals, and legal bill reviewers.
The following ten best practices measures were developed over several years with input and consensus from thought leaders (members and non-members) from across the legal fee analysis professional community. These best practice measures promote values such as ethics, independence, and professional development. These peer review driven standards help strengthen the legal fee analysis field by ensuring integrity in the process and reliability in the results. These best practice measures fulfill the "generally accepted" standards within a professional community as required by Daubert and are widely considered the mainstream of outside legal fee analysis.
All our members (i.e. fully qualified attorney fee experts, special fee masters, bankruptcy fee examiners, fee dispute neutrals, and legal bill reviewers) are signatories to the following ethics for reviewing outside legal fees:
1.00 Adhere to the proper standard of reasonableness.
2.00 Observe a consistent and reliable methodology.
3.00 Keep updated on the latest jurisprudence (i.e. the body of law, key court rulings, expert fee reports, etc.) on reasonable attorney fees and expenses.
4.00 Keep updated on the latest scholarship (i.e. empirical papers, studies, surveys, reports, etc.) on reasonable attorney fees and expenses.
5.00 Participate in professional development and CLE programs on litigation management, attorney fees, and legal billing topics.
6.00 Do not advertise false or intentionally misleading information or offer any guarantee of outcome.
7.00 Do not charge on a contingency basis (i.e. based on the results obtained).
8.00 Do not accept a case or client where there is an inherent conflict of interest.
9.00 Keep all fee, billing, rate, and work product information in strict confidence.
10.00 Utilize technology when possible.
Please Note: You don't need to be a NALFA member to follow Best Practices in Legal Fee Analysis.