So, you’ve won your case that included attorney fees! Now what?
If a statute, contract, or other authority provides for an award of attorney fees to the winning party, a verdict in your favor is not the final obstacle between you, your client, and collection. After the verdict or judgment is entered, you must then move to request your fees in accordance with Federal Rule 54(d)(2), and any applicable local rule. Three major areas to concern yourself with are (1) billing descriptions, (2) privilege, and (3) the effect of contingency arrangements.
First, be mindful of your billing practices. Provide your invoices as an exhibit to your motion and be detailed, precise, and consistent in your descriptions. Opposing counsel will have a chance to respond and you should be prepared for your billing to be closely examined and challenged; you want to avoid a cringeworthy display of your firm’s practices. If the billing description is not sufficiently detailed, the court has discretion to disregard that billing entry and subtract it from your total fees. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). While you are not required to “record in great detail how each minute of his time was expended,” the general subject matter should be identified Therefore, an entry of “research” without more, may be subject to deletion.