Legal Audit FAQ
What is the cost for a legal fee audit?
In order to deliver a fair and objective review of billings, we charge on a percentage of fees reviewed or an hourly rate depending on the circumstances of the audit. A legal fee auditor should maintain objectivity and independence and never be compensated based upon the amount of fee issues raised.
What are important factors in selecting a legal fee auditor?
When selecting a legal auditing firm, it is important to ask:
- Do you use experienced attorneys to audit the invoices and review other associated documents? If the case goes to trial, can you provide an expert witness who has experience in the field?
- How long has your company been in business and what is the company’s reputation in the industry?
- Are you able to perform allocations between covered and non-covered issues?
- Do you use attorneys to review the invoices?
- Can you support a client in designing a plan on how to recover inappropriate rates paid to law firms?
- How do you charge for your services?
Can Stuart Maue act as a fee expert/expert witness if a fee dispute goes to trial?
What is the process involved in a legal fee audit?
Although each audit is based upon client need, generally, our process may include the following:
- Data collection- Invoice data is imported into our proprietary software and reconciled by our accountants.
- Case background review- Our attorney reviewers analyze all materials at their disposal including dockets, pleadings, work product, correspondence, retention letters, billing guidelines, and budgets.
- Review and analysis- Stuart Maue attorneys review and analyze the billing entries in order to identify inappropriate or questionable billing.
- On-site file review and attorney interviews (if requested by the client)- Stuart Maue attorneys may travel to the law firm to review case files and interview firm personnel.
- Summary information- Clients receive detailed reports, exhibits, or other information that best suits the client’s need.
- Post-report negotiation and testimony- Stuart Maue assists clients with presenting audit findings to law firms for the purposes of negotiating the recoupment of previously paid fees and/or going-forward credits.
What are some of the typical items reviewed in a legal bill audit?
Some of the documents that are typically reviewed in a legal audit are: law firm retention agreements, billing guidelines, pleadings, and related documents associated with the matter or matters being reviewed.
Does Stuart Maue include an on-site review at the law firms being audited?
Stuart Maue will include an on-site review at the law firms being audited if requested by the client.
What happens after the legal fee audit is complete?
Stuart Maue will work closely with you to support a strategy for the recovery of fees and expenses that were paid to the firms.
How can I recoup fees found to be non-compliant in a legal fee review and can Stuart Maue assist in the recovery efforts?
This may be in the form of current credits, going-forward credits, or other discounts. Stuart Maue is available to present our findings to the client and/or the audited firm although we are not able to negotiate on behalf of our client.
What if costs cannot be recouped?
In situations where the client is unable to settle the case, Stuart Maue is available to provide litigation support services such as exhibit creation and expert testimony services.