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Opinions of Attorney Fee Experts

November 20, 2009 | Posted in : Fee Award, Fee Award Factors, Fee Expert / Member, Fee Request, Lodestar, Prevailing Party Issues


"Lay persons are not able to adjudicate the matter of reasonable attorney fee without the testimonial opinion of an expert. Even where a judge is the finder of fact of a reasonable fee, don't rely on the judge's expertise. The prevailing party, and the defending party, should make expert opinion available to the fact-finder.

An expert opinion needs to show the facts upon which the opinion is based. This factual description should start with a narrative of the nature of the case and the progression of events, including the number of hours spent, why and how various attorneys or legal assistants were used, and the hourly rates of attorneys and legal assistants. Then this opinion should summarize the factual consideratsions in all the factors that might involved in upward or downward adjustments to the fee from a lodestar amount. If the determination of the amount is to be by the court and it is ordered and stipulated to be on documentary evidence only, this factual description and the opinion can be a written affidavit. Otherwise, if the presentation is to a jury or with live testimony to a judge, oral testimony should be used."

Source: Leonard Bucklin, Attorney Fee Awards