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(Message started by: scottp on Jan 20th, 2007, 11:43pm)

Title: Billing Rates
Post by scottp on Jan 20th, 2007, 11:43pm
What would be a normal rate to bill a law student's work out at?  I am a 3rd year law student and was very surprised to find out what the firm is charging clients for my work.

Title: Re: Billing Rates
Post by Zinger on Jan 22nd, 2007, 10:30pm
Depends on too many factors, but anything from $75-150 an hour wouldn't be unheard of.

Title: Re: Billing Rates
Post by scottp on Jan 22nd, 2007, 11:11pm
Thanks Zinger!

Title: Re: Billing Rates
Post by smgsmc on Jan 31st, 2007, 9:16pm
Could someone please explain to me how billing rates translate to the $$ that a client pays for?  Here's a hypothetical example, with made up numbers

Assumption:  Patent attorney and patent agent do identical work in identical time.
Patent attorney billable rate = $200/hr
Patent agent billable rate = $100/hr.

Each spends 50 billable hours on an application.  What does the customer get billed?  Does the customer pay
$10,000 if a patent attorney does the work, and only $5,000 if the patent agent does the work?  Or does the firm bill the customer $300/hr, for example, regardless of whether the work is done by a patent attorney or patent agent?  In which case, the firm makes a larger profit with a patent agent, because the patent agent gets paid less?  

Title: Re: Billing Rates
Post by Jonathan on Jan 31st, 2007, 9:49pm
Your post appears to be either or.

You will perhaps be billed for whatever work-time was committed, PA or attny.

I say perhaps because the "pre-bill" may be reduced depending on the nature of the work in view of the time and person that produced it.

Upping a bill for time a PA spent on a matter to an attorney rate is unethical unless a flat rate was specified.

Massaging the bill - adjusting who gets credit for what but not exceeding the actual total, that's an issue internal to whomever you hired.

Title: Re: Billing Rates
Post by Isaac on Feb 1st, 2007, 6:07am

on 01/31/07 at 21:16:44, smgsmc wrote:
Each spends 50 billable hours on an application. What does the customer get billed? Does the customer pay


A typical arrangement is for firms to have billing rates for attorneys and agents roughly proportional to their level of pay and to bill the client using the billing rate of the person doing the work.   Sometimes clients who do lots of business can negotiate lower rates.

It's probably not a realisting hypothetical to assume that a new practitioner with a lower billing rate would end up cheaper than an experienced attorney or agent with a higher hourly billing rate because the more experienced attorney should work faster.  Also firms are aware of inequities and sometimes don't allow charge offs for the full time spent.

Alternate arrangements are possible including flat rates and flat hourly rates.  

Title: Re: Billing Rates
Post by jrnifong on Feb 2nd, 2007, 9:07am
Typical rates are to take the converted hourly wage of the atty/agent and multiply by 2.5 for client's rate

Title: Re: Billing Rates
Post by smgsmc on Feb 2nd, 2007, 10:42pm

on 02/01/07 at 06:07:37, Isaac wrote:
It's probably not a realisting hypothetical to assume that a new practitioner with a lower billing rate would end up cheaper than an experienced attorney or agent with a higher hourly billing rate because the more experienced attorney should work faster. Also firms are aware of inequities and sometimes don't allow charge offs for the full time spent.

Alternate arrangements are possible including flat rates and flat hourly rates.



Thanks, Isaac.  I'm not addressing the instance of an inexperienced agent vs an experienced attorney.  I'm addressing the instance in which an agent and attorney have, for example, 5+ yr experience each.  At which time, the agent should be cruising along at the same clip (or faster) as the attorney.  I'm talking strictly patent prosecution, no activity which would require legal expertise, and hence justify the higher rate of an attorney's services.  My understanding is that, under these circumstances, an agent's billable rate would still be lower than an attorney's.  Is that correct?  I'm also not talking about the other extreme, an agent with 10 yr experience vs an attorney with 1 yr experience; but some middle ground . So, if the firm bills at the rate of the person who is doing the job (not flat fee or flat hourly rate, for example), the client  would then pay less for an agent to do the work?



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