Session I - Billing Tips for Young Lawyers – Michael S. LeBoff
For any attorney that bills hourly, proper billing practices are essential for firms to survive. This program will explore best practices for recording and billing time. While intended primarily for younger lawyers, the program is of value to all lawyers that routinely bill time to their clients. The program will cover the best practices for recording and describing work in their billing entries, the ethical rules relating to billing, and strategies for collecting fees and avoiding fee disputes.
Key topics to be discussed:
Best practices for recording and describing time
Ethical rules relating to billing clients
Strategies to maximize collection and avoid fee disputes
Session II - Proving Attorney Fees in Litigation - John D. O’Connor, and Benjamin J. Pekarek
An increasing part of today’s litigation focuses on the issue of attorney fees to be paid, upon success, to the prevailing party by the losing party.
Some fees are claimed under statute, often payable only by the defendant if found liable under the statutory provisions, often meant to encourage civil rights or otherwise vindication of the public interest. Other claims arise from contractual fee-shifting clauses, awarding fees to the prevailing party, a status which itself is sometimes subject to dispute. In any case, there is no doubt but that the litigation of fee disputes arising from these sources is often the tail that wags the dog. Any litigator should be sufficiently familiar with the principles of this specialized field such that the client is protected to the greatest degree possible, even if the dispute itself often centers ultimately upon the bailiwick of an attorney fee expert witness.
Key topics to be discussed:
Proving and opposing the hourly rates sought to be awarded to petitioning counsel
Proving and opposing the number of reasonable hours that should be included in the fee “lodestar”
Litigating issues of right to fees and/or apportionment of fees to certain claims
Litigating fee enhancement or “multiplier” issues
Date: June 16, 2023
Michael S. LeBoff | Klein & Wilson
Michael S. LeBoff brings more than 20 years of business trial practice to Klein & Wilson, handling and winning trials, arbitrations, and high-stakes disputes.
Mr. LeBoff attended Loyola Law School on a full academic scholarship, graduating second in his class of nearly 400 students. At Loyola, Mr. LeBoff received countless academic awards and served as an editor for the Loyola Law Review.
After graduating from law school, Michael LeBoff clerked for the former Chief Judge of the Central District of California, Manuel L. Real, where he saw firsthand the importance of always being prepared before entering the courtroom. Following his clerkship, Mr. LeBoff developed his trial skills working at some of the finest law firms in Orange County where he had the opportunity to go up against Klein & Wilson in a complex joint venture litigation. Having developed mutual respect for each other’s skills and civility, Mr. LeBoff joined Klein & Wilson in 2016. Less than two years later, he was named the first new partner in the first 25-year history.
Michael LeBoff represents clients of all sizes in a wide variety of business cases, including shareholder, partnership and joint venture disputes, trade secret claims, fraud, breach of contract, business torts, real estate, and legal malpractice actions.
Mr. LeBoff also spent a portion of his career in the client’s chair, as he served as in-house litigation counsel for ACC Capital Holdings, the parent company of large, nationwide financial services companies. During that time, Mr. LeBoff represented his client in consumer litigation, class actions, employment litigation, trade secret cases, and insurance coverage disputes. As in-house counsel, Mr. LeBoff managed nationwide litigation and worked daily with outside counsel to develop and implement cost-effective litigation strategies. Mr. LeBoff also reviewed and approved outside counsel bills and reported to senior management on significant litigation activities. In this role, Mr. LeBoff learned the importance of billing efficiencies and litigation results.
Mr. LeBoff currently serves as a co-chair of the Professional Liability Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation. Mr. LeBoff previously served three years as co-chair of the section’s largest committee, the Commercial and Business Litigation Committee. He currently chairs its Ethics Subcommittee. In 2019, Mr. LeBoff was elected to the Orange County Bar Association’s (“OCBA”) Board of Directors. Mr. LeBoff served as the Chair of the OCBA’s Business Litigation Section. Mr. LeBoff is also the former chair of the OCBA’s Banking and Lending Section.
Outside of the office, Mr. LeBoff is a husband and father of two teenage daughters. Mr. LeBoff coached his daughters’ T ball and soccer teams and led his girls’ Adventure Princess Expedition. Mr. LeBoff is a die-hard Las Vegas Raiders fan, a fantasy sports athlete, and a recreational pickleball and poker player.
John D. O’Connor | O’Connor and Associates
John O’Connor has tried over 70 cases in federal and state venues throughout the country, with highly enviable success in complex, contentious disputes. Retained by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as trial counsel in key cases, he achieved a pretrial dismissal in each concluded action. A former Federal Prosecutor, Mr. O’Connor was appointed lead outside counsel in certain S&L crisis litigation, defended a California Attorney General in campaign-related litigation, and successfully represented Golden State Warriors basketball Coach Don Nelson in significant contract claims. His greatest successes have been in the satisfactory resolution of closely-held business disputes.
Mr. O’Connor has held the highest Martindale-Hubbell “AV” rating for over 25 years, and has consistently been named a “SuperLawyer” by his Northern California peers. He has tried cases at the highest levels of practice since 1972. Mr. O’Connor currently serves on the Board of Directors of Graduate Theological Union, The Lincoln Club of Northern California, and Alliance for Smiles, Inc.
Benjamin J. Pekarek | O’Connor and Associates
Mr. Pekarek graduated from both University of San Diego School of Law and School of Business in 2014, where he concurrently pursued his Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration. During law school, he worked as a summer law clerk for the employment law department at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP’s San Francisco office.
Mr. Pekarek was a Legal Intern at University of San Diego’s Entrepreneurship Clinic, where he provided legal services for low-income entrepreneurs in the San Diego area. He also worked as Research Assistant for Professor Mark Lee, conducting research for the annual update to his textbook, Organizing Corporate & Other Business Enterprises. As a master’s candidate, Mr. Pekarek traveled to Shanghai, China, where he consulted for a startup telecommunications company seeking to enter the United States market and presented his findings directly to the Board of Directors.
Mr. Pekarek earned his BA in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, graduating summa cum laude from the Honors Program.
Session I – Billing Tips for Young Lawyers | 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Best practices for recording and describing time | 1:00pm – 1:20pm
Ethical rules relating to billing clients | 1:20pm – 1:40pm
Strategies to maximize collection and avoid fee disputes | 1:40pm – 2:00pm
Break | 2:00pm – 2:10pm
Session II – Proving Attorney Fees in Litigation | 2:10pm –4:20pm
Proving and opposing the hourly rates sought to be awarded to petitioning counsel | 2:10pm – 2:40pm
Proving and opposing the number of reasonable hours that should be included in the fee “lodestar” | 2:40pm – 3:10pm
Break | 3:10pm – 3:20pm
Litigating issues of right to fees and/or apportionment of fees to certain claims | 3:20pm – 3:50pm
Litigating fee enhancement or “multiplier” issues | 3:50pm – 4:20pm