Courts may award attorney fees to the prevailing party under statutes and contract provisions. In these cases, the courts determine the appropriate fees, including whether to approve fees for paralegal time.
Federal courts and most states have followed the reasoning of two US Supreme Court cases, Missouri v Jenkins and Richlin v Chertoff (see below), and allow attorney fee awards that include paralegal time.
In some states, statutes have been amended or court rules have been added to clarify that paralegal time could be included in attorney fee awards and that the paralegal time could be charged at market rates.
- Missouri v Jenkins 491 U.S. 274 (1989) http://supreme.justia.com/us/491/274/case.html
- Richlin v Chertof http://www.nala.org/New2/Upload/file/PDF-Files/08-Richlin-Decision.pdf
Courts do not automatically approve fees for paralegal time. There are several important elements that should be included in the fee petition. Today's Practice Tip discusses those elements.
Follow this link to listen and then let me know if you have had any experience with the court approval of your paralegal fees.
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