• Billings – a balanced approach

    Posted on November 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm under Family Law category.

    On 15 November 2013, The Courier Mail ran a story under the headline “Queensland Legal Services Commission helpless to stop lawyers’ dodgy billing practices”.

    In 2011, the Legal Services Commission sought submissions with respect to itemised bills for lawyers.

    When Tony and I started our practice 13 years ago, we recognised the process of billing our clients as being a major issue. For many years, our firm has adopted a practice of basing our bills on an item basis rather than on a unit (time recording) basis. We have for many years in our Family Law Section used the services of a cost assessor who prepares the bill and provides a summary of the work which has been undertaken.

    Our cost assessor is an independent person who examines each file and charges accordingly. This gives reassurance and protection for both our firm and our clients that they are being charged an appropriate amount.

    If I can quote from our submission to the Legal Services Commission, “The issue for many clients who are in this situation is that they require the reassurance of a third person that the assessment is appropriate and reasonable.

    Our firm recognized this issue some years ago and we have had all of our family law files assessed by a cost assessor. The bill that is produced by our assessor is not detailed to the extent of itemising each individual item but gives a summary of the cost incurred in the file which gives sufficient detail to most clients.”

    By adopting this practice, it has resulted in our accounts being readily accepted by our clients.

    We are proud to have adopted this practice and it has been implemented for many years without cost to our clients as the cost assessor’s fees are borne by our practice.

    I will speak with you again,

    Stephen.