Now, once you get beyond that, should normal people also know the most intimate, personal details about your innermost essence -- such as how much you charge big clients?
Magistrate Judge Goodman says the public has the right to know just how much your big fancy shmancy firm charges per hour:
As an initial matter, the Court notes that counsel for both Procaps and Patheon contend that their hourly billing rates are confidential and not publicly available and that filing their declarations publically (in which the specific rates are disclosed) would be competitively damaging. But these contentions are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with their conduct in other cases. In fact, both Procaps’ and Patheon’s law firms have in just the past few years publicly filed ‐‐ i.e., not under seal ‐‐ numerous fees requests disclosing the hourly rates of their attorneys, including some of the attorneys involved in this case. It is not clear why their attorney’s hourly rates should be deemed confidential for this case, but not for others. The Court cannot find any logical rationale for this dichotomy (of disclosing hourly rates in some cases but not others) and finds that the confidentiality argument is significantly undermined by the law firms’ conduct, as opposed to their rhetoric.Hooray for logic!
Great opinion btw, though as usual Judge Goodman goes on a little longer than necessary, drops in a few hypotheticals just in case his reasoning is not exceedingly crystal-clear, and ends with a slightly obscure Michael Franks reference (I'm kidding only about the last part):