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Litigation Billing Rate Data Has Chi-Squared Distribution

January 25, 2023

NALFA recently released the results from its 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey.  The results, published in The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, contains billing rate data on the factors that correlate directly to hourly rates in litigation: geography, years of litigation experience, position or title, complexity of case, and litigation practice size.

This empirical survey and report provides micro and macro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in regular and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest markets.  This data-intensive survey contains hundreds of data sets and thousands of data points covering all relevant billing rate categories and variables.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

This is the third year NALFA has conducted this survey on billing rates. The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report contains new cities, additional categories, and more accurate variables.  These updated features allow us to capture new and more precise billing rate data.  Through our propriety email database, NALFA surveyed thousands of litigators from across the U.S,  Over 16,600 qualified litigators fully participated in this hourly rate survey.

For the third year in a row, at the macro level, we find a chi-squared distribution for litigation billing rates.  When we plot all responses (plaintiffs' and defense) in both regular and complex litigation on a graph (x,y axis), we have a general shape distribution model known as chi-squared distribution.  That is, the distribution is not the classic bell-shaped curve. Our model here starts from a low point ($200-$250), climbs to the highest point ($451-$500), before the midpoint ($601-$650), then declines gradually and finishes with a long tail with an uptick at the very end (Over $1100). 

"You can see that the climb upwards is steeper than the gradual decline downwards," said Terry Jesse, Executive Director of NALFA .  In the graph below, the y axis is the percentage of responses and the x axis is our 20-point hourly rate scale (Less than $200 to Over $1100).

 

NALFA Releases 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report

December 20, 2022

Every year, NALFA conducts an hourly rate survey of civil litigation in the U.S.   Today, NALFA released the results from its 2022 hourly rate survey.  The survey results, published in The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, shows billing rate data on the very factors that correlate directly to hourly rates in litigation:

City / Geography
Years of Litigation Experience / Seniority
Position / Title
Practice Area / Complexity of Case
Law Firm / Law Office Size

This empirical survey and report provides micro and macro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in regular and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest markets.  This data-intensive survey contains hundreds of data sets and thousands of data points covering all relevant billing rate categories and variables.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

This is the third year NALFA has conducted this survey on billing rates.  The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report contains new cities, additional categories, and more accurate variables.  These updated features allow us to capture new and more precise billing rate data.  Through our propriety email database, NALFA surveyed thousands of litigators from across the U.S.  Over 16,600 qualified litigators fully participated in this hourly rate survey.  This data-rich survey was designed to aid litigators in proving their lodestar rates in court and comparing their rates to their litigation peers.

The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report is now available for purchase.  For more on this survey, email NALFA Executive Director Terry Jesse at terry@thenalfa.org or call us at (312) 907-7275.

NY Law Firm: Environmental Company Failed to Pay Legal Fees

November 15, 2022

A recent Law 360 story by Emily Lever, NY Firm Says Enviro Co. Failed To Pay Legal Fees” reports that Bochner IP PLLC sued environmental company Global Thermostat in New York state court over allegedly skipping out on a $102,000 bill for its work on intellectual property transactions aimed at fending off bankruptcy, saying Global Thermostat "never intended to pay" in full.

When Global Thermostat found itself at risk of bankruptcy, the company's co-founder agreed to grant it the use of her intellectual property, according to a complaint filed in New York Supreme Court.  Bochner handled the IP transactions, for which Global Thermostat paid the first few installments of the six-figure legal bill — a deliberate deception to create a false sense that Global Thermostat intended to and could pay the full bill, according to Bochner.

"Defendants successfully closed on the transactions and avoided bankruptcy, without having to fulfill their obligations to plaintiff," the complaint says.  Global Thermostat, a startup billing itself as being able to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and stop climate change, was co-founded in 2010 by Graciella Chichilnisky based on technologies she patented.

Global Thermostat PBC, Global Thermostat Operations LLC and Global Thermostat Licensing LLC sought new investors to save them from a possible bankruptcy, according to the complaint.  The companies paid Chichilnisky royalties for her technology, but potential investors insisted Chichilnisky transfer the patents to the companies as a condition of investment, according to the complaint.

Chichilnisky agreed, and the companies agreed to pay her legal fees in connection with the transfer of IP as compensation for the loss of royalties.  Bochner, a civil litigation and intellectual property firm, represented Chichilnisky in the transaction.  Bochner drafted a settlement that allowed the companies to avoid bankruptcy, according to the complaint.

Global Thermostat paid Bochner's first three invoices, which were each for $20,000, before the settlement closed.  But once the settlement was finalized Aug. 12, they stopped paying, leaving $102,679.25 worth of invoices unpaid, according to the complaint.  The companies "failed to disclose material information of their intent and/or ability to pay" to give Bochner the impression they would pay the full legal bill and to keep the firm working on the settlement that would preserve their business, according to Bochner.

"Defendants made these assertions and payments in order to induce plaintiff into believing it would be paid for all further work done in negotiating and finalizing the transactions," the complaint says.  Global Thermostat also ignored demands for payment from other firms that worked on the transaction, according to the complaint.

Class Counsel Earn $3.6M in Fees in CBS #MeToo Case

November 14, 2022

A recent Law 360 story by Katryna Perera, “CBS Investors Attys Get $3.6M in Moonves #MeToo Case” reports that counsel from Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP have been awarded $3.6 million for their work securing a $14.7 million settlement for a class of CBS Corp. investors who claimed the company's former CEO Les Moonves' alleged sexual misconduct tanked the broadcasting giant's shares.  U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni issued an order granting the attorney fee request along with $354,000 in litigation expenses.  However, she declined to award fees or expenses to Johnson Fistel LLP, which she noted did not appear as counsel to any plaintiff in the instant case or in a related matter.

Judge Caproni also granted a $2,250 service award to lead plaintiff, the Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern California, but declined to grant a request for $20,000 in legal fees for the lead plaintiff's outside counsel, which the order does not identify.  In awarding Robbins Geller $3.6 million in fees, the judge said the attorneys devoted more than 5,000 hours to the case, with a lodestar value of $4.6 million.  She also noted that class members filed no objections to the fees or expenses.

The $14.7 million settlement between the class and CBS was reached in April.  Investors argued that the deal was a "very good" one given that it represents between 7% and 9% of their estimated reasonably recoverable damages.  The investors alleged in their August 2018 suit that a statement Moonves made at the Variety Innovate Summit industry event in late 2017 kept CBS' share price artificially inflated until explosive July 2018 news reports detailed his alleged history of workplace sexual harassment.

$145M Opana Antitrust Settlement Merits $50M in Fees

November 11, 2022

A recent Law 360 story by Nadia Dreid, “Opana Buyers’ $145M Deal With $50M in Atty Fees Gets Final OK” reports that the attorneys who secured a $145 million settlement for direct purchasers of Endo Pharmaceuticals's Opana ER who said they overpaid generic-drug maker Impax Labs for the prescription painkiller because of a pay-for-delay deal will walk away from the litigation with more than $50 million for their trouble.  U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber gave the settlement his final approval, solidifying the agreement that will give class counsel Garwin Gerstein & Fisher LLP and Berger Montague PC more than a third of the settlement fund for their work over the last eight years.

The $50,528,470.66 in attorney fees amounts to 36% of the settlement fund, after the class awards and the $4.3 million in costs that the firms will also receive are subtracted, according to the opinion.  Direct purchases Value Drug Co. and Meijer Inc. will each receive $150,000 for their trouble.

The deal was reached just as trial was set to start back in June in the multidistrict litigation over a 2010 deal Endo and Impax reached to settle patent infringement claims Endo laid against the generics maker.  One group of direct purchasers — CVS Pharmacy Inc. and Walgreen Co. among them — opted out of the class, but ended up reaching their own settlement mid-trial, though the details were never made public.

Impax ended up getting around $112 million from Endo for delaying its generic version of Opana ER by about three years, with Endo promising not to launch an authorized generic version of the drug once Impax's version went to market, according to the current suit.  According to the Federal Trade Commission and the Opana ER buyers that make up the various proposed classes, the settlement constituted an illegal reverse payment.

The claims have been working their way through Illinois federal court since late 2014 when they were folded into the court by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.  The buyers said they lost money by paying more for the brand name when a cheaper, generic version could have been available to them.