Thursday, February 11, 2010

A lawyer complains about the cost - True Story!

Talk about ironic but I still can't get over this little gem.

I get a call from a lawyer I regularly work for. They have a Court Injunction that has to be served on a Company's registered office that very day, no later than 1pm, in order to stop the transfer of several hundred thousand dollars that should be going to their client. Can I help?

No problem, I say. Sure, I actually have a bunch of things to do that day - including dropping off someone at the Airport around 1pm - but I can make it a priority.

Now, for the uninitiated, it is a routine practice for URGENT (ie same day) document service work to be billed at a higher rate than normal. Usually a 50% surcharge is added. Not only that, but also if a document is picked up as well, rather than being mailed or dropped off, another charge applies. Common practices in this industry.

So I rush in after completing the job I am on out of town, pick up the Injunction from their offices, do a couple of other things, pick up my friends and on the way to the Airport serve the document on the Company well within the timeframe.

When I get back to the office I issue an invoice and add the 50% surcharge for the urgent delivery and email it with the report. I didn't charge for the pickup.

A little while later I receive an email from my lawyer friend. The firm's Partner that he works under was not pleased with my invoice and made a comment that I was "charging myself out of business".

Now, for the sake of clarity, I would like to point out that the invoice issued was for the princely sum of $101.25 rather than the standard $67.50, and involved me specifically coming into their office to pick up the documents, placing it ahead of all other work and effecting service within 2 hours. Not to mention subsequently swearing an Affidavit of Service.

And here was a Senior Partner, who probably bills his time out at least at $400.00 per hour, saying in all seriousness that *I* was charging *myself* out of business.

And the most perplexing thing is that the cost of document service isn't generally paid for by the firm but passed on to the Client anyway.


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