Arbitrator finds Goodwin Proctor overcharged by $540,000

Law firms typically try to handle billing disputes in private, avoiding the bad press that inevitably comes with them but, in a rare public display of disaffection, an arbitrator has ruled that law firm Goodwin Procter overcharged a real estate client by more than $540,000 in a dispute over billing procedures. The arbitrator, Jeffrey Martin, directed the firm to cut its $1.1 million invoice by 55 per cent after finding that it submitted “vague’’ invoices to the client, failed to provide a promised discount, and used too many of its attorneys to bill for the same legal tasks. The ruling strikes at the heart of biglaw business practice. Firms have become used to assigning large teams to client matters, but corporate clients are – in light of the economic downturn – increasingly likely to scrituinse their legal bills and challenge any fees that they deem unreasonable. The company is now seeking a ruling that it need not pay its reduced bill, claiming misconduct by a lead Goodwin lawyer, Gilbert Menna.

Arbitrator finds Goodwin Proctor overcharged by $540,000 Tue, Dec 14, 2010