Q: In a Federal Case out of NJ as the prevailing party who gets the legal fees that are awarded?
If a client was charged 225hr by the attorney but the attorney files for legal fees at 500Hr as the prevailing party how is the 300 dollars addtional over the 225hr charged to the client awarded? Does all of the addtional 300 dollars awarded go the client or does a portion go the the attorney?
A: I have never heard of a Federal case involving family law, nor have I heard of any attorney charging only $225 an hour for a Federal case and certainly not in New Jersey. If an attorney seeks any legal fees pursuant to a Court award of legal fees, an itemized statement of professional services and costs must be submitted to the Court. No attorney who wants to keep their law license is ever going to file a fee application with any Court, for more than what they actually charged the client.
A: Im guessing that the lawyer filed a fee application, telling the court that you paid him based on 225.00 per hour but he was seeking a "loadstar" of 500.00 per hour for the work performed. The lodestar method for calculating attorneys’ fees starts off with a prevailing attorney asking the court to make an award of fees based on a reasonable hourly rate ( ie 500.00 per hour based on his skills, experience, etc) multiplied by the number of hours reasonably spent by the lawyer representing you. Again, I'm guessing that the lawyer was charging you less than his usual hourly rate for the matter and since he prevailed, he wants the other side to pay him legal fees based on a higher hourly rate for the same time spent. In this type of setting, the additional fees awarded would belong to the attorney. If you are concerned about the request, you have a right to see the fee application submitted to confirm the representations being made by your lawyer in support of the fee application.
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