Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Comparing municipal attorneys' billings in multiple towns

Many attorneys represent more than one government agency. As an experiment, I selected two townships in Cumberland County that are represented by the same lawyer and OPRAed the legal invoices from both. I then compared them side by side and looked for instances in which attorney billed both townships for more hours than seemed reasonable for a single day.

What I found was that the law firm, which I believe employs one attorney, charged the townships a total of $2,175 for 14.5 hours spent attending two court hearings on March 30, 2011. The details are in my letter to both Mayors, which is on-line here.

Clearly, there may be, and probably is, a logical explanation for these billings, but I believe that questioning them is reasonable. If your local agency's attorney works for multiple towns, you may wish to try an experiment similar to mine. I believe that citizens questioning attorney bills will cause government attorneys to be very careful in their billing practices.

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