Attorney Fees

DLA Piper: 'Churn that bill' email was 'inexcusable effort at humor'


DLA Piper has responded after widespread coverage of a client-billing dispute that revealed an embarrassing email exchange between lawyers apparently joking about a client’s bill.

In a statement, the firm said, “We hold ourselves to the highest legal and ethical standards. The behavior as described is unacceptable to DLA Piper and our clients. The emails were in fact an offensive and inexcusable effort at humor, but in no way reflect actual excessive billing.”

The New York Law Journal reported on the response and the New York Times published a firm-wide memo sent after its initial coverage.

The memo was purportedly to help attorneys address concerns from clients and notes in part, “While we will make no effort to defend the foolish emails generated by the lawyers involved in this matter, we will defend vigorously the firm’s track record of delivering high-quality legal services at a fair price, including the reasonable fees generated in the matter in question.”

The response from DLA Piper follows coverage of claims by onetime DLA client Adam Victor, who has accused the firm of deliberately overbilling on a bankruptcy case for one of his companies. The litigation was initiated by DLA Piper, which took Victor to court for failure to pay $679,000 in legal fees. Victor filed counterclaims alleging overbilling.

Related coverage:

Marketplace: “Lawyers’ emails reveal the obvious: Attorneys’ overcharge”

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