Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Client Cannot Be Designated Paralegal In Order To Recover Fees For Time Spent Assisting Attorney

In Lewis, et al v. Nical of Palm Beach, Inc. (4D07-3721), the Fourth District addressed the following claim:

"The attorneys for the Scott Lewis side claim the value of paralegal labor in preparing for hearings and related proceedings. The paralegals in question are not regular employees or staff of their able counsel but instead none other than Scott Lewis and Carol Lewis themselves."

The trial court denied the request and the Fourth District affirmed holding "The inherent possibility for mischief in deeming the client a paralegal of the representing attorney is apparent enough to cast a dense shadow over even the mere theoretical prospect of the argument they make. In this instance we note the utter absence of any showing that the labor of the client was required by the lawyer or had the effect of reducing the fee claimed by the lawyer."


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