Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Louisiana

Billing phone conversations

I called my lawyer today because I have been waiting over a month for the legal paperwork on my case since Jan 30. He had read to me over the phone over a month ago what he had prepared for the other attorney and the courts. When I reached him today, he said that he would send the documents throgh email, which he did, but he also make a comment about the ''meter running'' referring to billing me for calling to ask where my paperwork was. Do I have to pay for all of the charges he will bill me? I feel like I was in the right calling him, but I also feel like I had to light a fire under him to do his job. Are billed hours negotiable?

Asked on 3/12/02, 8:39 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jeffery Navarro Jeffery M. Navarro, Attorney at Law

Re: Billing phone conversations

If your fee arrangment with your lawyer is for hourly fees, then he can charge you for phone calls. What kind of case is it?

Jeff Navarro

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Answered on 3/13/02, 11:05 am

George Caballero Caballero Law Firm

Re: Billing phone conversations

The Louisiana State Bar Association has a program for fee disputes. I suggest that you go to there website at:

George G. Caballero

Attorney at Law

[email protected]


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Answered on 3/12/02, 10:02 pm
Richard Lemmler, Jr. R.P. Lemmler, Jr., Attorney At Law

Re: Billing phone conversations

Don't you know already what your fee/billing arrangements are with this lawyer? Did you hire him/her without ever discussing how you would be paying and exactly what you would be paying for? I seriously doubt that you would go to the grocery and buy steaks, take them home and eat them without ever knowing what they cost with the understanding that the grocery store would send you a bill after they were eaten--you know that those steaks would likely cost you a fortune and, as a result, you would never agree to such a preposterous business arrangement. However, it sounds like you may have done so with your important legal matter.

I strongly suggest that, before you consider this an actual "fee dispute" and contacting the bar association for assistance, you figure out what the fees actually ARE. Did you sign a "retainer contract" or a "fee agreement" when you hired this lawyer? Did you read it? If you didn't get one or sign one, I would consider sending the lawyer a certified letter immediately, requesting a detailed breakdown of how you will be billed/charged. If he/she will not respond or does not give you the information you need, consider sending another certified letter, firing him/her and get yourself a lawyer who is going to tell you up front how you're going to be charged and for what. You, as a non-lawyer/client, are not supposed to know how lawyers charge or what questions to ask about this--the lawyer is supposed to tell you and make sure you understand in advance and all along the way if you still have questions.

Good luck.

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Answered on 3/12/02, 10:49 pm

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