Click and Clack’s fictional law firm somehow pops into my mind as I read Chip Welch’s response to the Williams and Anderson law firm’s claim for $70,000 in fees for representing Superintendent Roy Brooks in a decidedly limited “victory” in federal court over his removal. If you recall, he failed at his primary objective, removing two elected School Board members from supervising him. You might say Welch, the Little Rock School Board attorney, hoots, in a legal way, at the “excessive and duplicative” fees sought for the battalion of troops W&A deployed. From Welch’s filing:
The billing submitted [See: Def. Ex. A] is fairly dripping with fat. It looks suspiciously like a negotiation rather than a bill. The Court should not take the bait and ‘negotiate’ with Plaintiff on the fee but should deny the Petition in its entirety.
For example, time after time, the multiple lawyers (and paralegals) “reviewed” the same things and then billed for them separately. “Conferences” were held between each lawyer and assistant repeatedly for hours on end (See: e.g. Apr. 30; May 1; May 4: May 6). On May 1st, Mr. Anderson billed three (3) hours [$350 per hour] for writing one letter to Chris Heller. On May 7th Paralegal, Mary Roach billed 1 hr [$90] to schedule lunch.
Multiple issues which were not part of the injunction case were “researched” or “reviewed”. On May 8th, Paralegal Emily Perryman billed .20 for “scanning and saving Mr. Walker’s FOIA request” (Mr. Walker was not counsel in this case). KARN radio tapes and Arkansas Times articles were “reviewed” for over 10 hours at $150 per hour by Attorney Cassandra Baldwin on May 3rd. and again on May 6th.
Mr. [senior partner Phil] Anderson, who, after responding to the Court’s greeting, did not speak at the May 7th hearing or the May 9th one hour meeting with the Court, nonetheless billed 10 hours @ $350 per hour for being there. Mr. Anderson billed over $13,000 total on this bill.
By the way, W&A will be seeking still more money from LRSD for “negotiating” the buyout terms on Brooks’ contract. What’s to negotiate? Pay him the salary he’s due and wave adios. If he feels he needs to hire an attorney to enforce what the Board has already said it would pay Brooks, let him pay them their customary and usual charges, lunch scheduling and all. You think this firm bills similarly when the client is the Democrat-Gazette publisher? Or only when they’re going after taxpayer money?