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Top Experts Trump Lawyers: $2,000/Hour

Posted Aug 30, 2007 3:05 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A very select group of lawyers reportedly now bills at hourly rates that can exceed $1,000. But they are topped by an even more select group of experts, whose fees can hit $2,000 per hour.

Intellectual property knowledge can earn such stratospheric fees for experts—who typically, at four-figure rates, are retained only for a brief period, reports New York Lawyer (reg. req.), reprinting a Recorder article. As discussed in a recent ABAJournal.com post, top lawyers can earn up to $1,000 per hour or even a bit more—although some fear billing at this level might drive clients to what one partner elegantly described as the "vomit point."

Experts are even more valuable, however. "Wei-Ning Yang, a Hogan & Hartson partner in L.A., said last week that the firm is currently paying an MIT professor $2,000 an hour in an IP dispute," the New York Lawyer article states.

Although an unnamed lawyer described this expert's rate as "absurdly high," another IP practioner apparently agrees that it could be a fair-market fee. "If you have an expert in a field, and the expertise is hard to come by, it would stand to reason you can charge a great deal," said Claude Stern. He chairs the IP group at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges.

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