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Higher billing rates for litigation work?

Higher billing rates for litigation work?

Higher billing rates for litigation work?

Is there a particular reason why higher billing rates are used/expected for deposition and testimony in court?

Maybe just "why not?" because the lawyers are billing out at $300/hour or whatever their rate is.


RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?


Interesting question, I have a different day/hourly rate for depositions or for working is support of a litgated scenario - it's slightly higher.  I don't get allot of that type work, but occasionally I do and no one questions it.

But I'm not sure why the rate is higher now that I think about it, I suppose because I have always seen those rates a little higher with other consultants????????

Greg Lamberson, BS, MBA
Consultant - Upstream Energy
Website: www.oil-gas-consulting.com

RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?

That kind of work is a pain.  It requires precise recording of the smallest details, and extreme care in relating them in the face of possibly hostile questioning.  The easiest way to lose your license is misspeak under oath (which is pretty easy to do if you have a pit bull opposing counsel in your face), you should be compensated for that risk.  I double my rate for depositions and court appearances in the hope that people will think I'm too expensive and go elsewhere.  Simple support of litigators is charged at my normal rate.

I've got a friend who absolutely thrives on being on the stand in front of a jury and he actively seeks out lawyers to be an expert witness (his hourly rate for testifying is higher than mine, so it looks to me like you can charge anything you want).  He is so self confident (cocky?) that he comes across as totally believable.  I do OK, but I don't love it.


RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?

I think zdas04 has got the reason, potential liability per hour in court is much higher than per hour on a design job. Also check your insurance, you may find the excess is higher for professional witness duties.


RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?

My father is an attorney and I'm an engineer.  He would tell me about how much money these expert witnesses are making per hour and would encourage me to look into branching off into it.  The way I see it experts are expected to be ready to get up, say what's going on, and charge by the hour. As far as experts go, i personally think there is more measurable professional accuracy demanded of engineers than doctors, psychologists, law enforcement, and lawyers when it comes to what is said in court. I think this translates to more time spent in preparation (or it should) than is justified, since they're all experts.  Many experts get to spout out conventional wisdom and anecdotal evidence for there field and walk away.

RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?

You won't loose your license if you state that in "your professional opinion ....".  Courts know that experts offer opinions, not facts. In most states you cannot sue an expert witness for anything they say on the witness stand.   Experts are hardly ever called on for facts, they are called on for professional opinions.  The other side will have experts that may offer different opinions.  The court or jury will decide who they want to believe. To be a good witness you must put what facts there are together and offer an interpritatin of facts or sequences of events that are not necessarly directly supported by facts.
Good attorneys do the theroizing and call on your opinion to back up their case.

RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?

That is interesting, maybe I'm taking this too seriously after all.  I'll still charge more for testimony because I can.


RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?

My primary employer has a forensics division that I work in and one reason for a higher rate is slight overstaffing to be responsive to your clients (want it inspected today and the report yesterday) and expenses for equipment, references, training, and licenses is pretty high when you are asked to investigate failures that do not happen on a regular basis and are across the country.

Don Phillips

RE: Higher billing rates for litigation work?

For me, I charge as much as I can get, as long as it is above what I feel is my floor. Sort of like bidding at an auction, in reverse.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
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