Just How Secret Should Your Hourly Rates Be?

Let's start with the proposition that the NSA and Facebook already know everything about everybody.

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):


  1. ♬ Something's comin' over me
    My baby's got a secret♬

  2. @12:05

    There are no secrets from one with the power cosmic.

    I charge more for pissy attitudes and general crankiness.

  3. I bill at $1,250.00 per hour (when asked at cocktail hour reception), but often give good clients a break on my rate to $175.00 (okay all of my clients get the break).

    Because I needlessly duplicate work and regularly double my actual time (here it is call the LOADStar), my effective rate easily works out to $350.00!!! #rollininit

  4. #rollininit

    I bill at $450.00 per hour (of course I lie about my rate to women, judges and children)...but here is the thing, my associates bill at $300 to $375.00. I assign 3 to every matter, make them do all the work, bill for "reviewing and editing" pleadings that I do not write and only lend my name to.

    I bill for preparing for hearings (the prep is done by my associates - in triplicate - and they bill for it too), which really means I review the associates binders the hour before court.

    Best part - I get a cut of my associates' billable time at the end of the day because I generate the client!!! What a fucking life...yeah baby.

    Next month I am going to Europe, I will bill every minute of the flight to two different files, and the flight (first class beeotches) will be paid for before I even cross over Newfoundland. Suckers!

  5. It is in my best interest to bill as much as possible.

  6. I had an injury lawyer in Kingston and he was super professional about things like this. I learned a lesson from him.

  7. #rollininit

    I opened 430 responses to an email blast on behalf if a major client today....get to bill .1 for each per my firm rules. 43 hour Tuesday ain't too shabby.


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