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Major Differences in Attorney Hours for Summary Judgement

Glendale, CA |

I shopped around my case to several lawyers and all gave some estimates in costs and I noticed that the hourly costs were different but the actual "amount of hours" to do something was very different.

One lawyer said a summary judgement would take 30 hours and another said it would take 10 and another 15. Do I have to shop it around even more to get a more reliable picture?

This is a huge range difference.

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Attorney answers 4


A summary judgment motion in 10 hours? Extraordinary! Must be a very simple case with very few facts at issue.

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But how would a layperson, the person that is to hire know that? In other words isn't shopping it around the only way?


I believe the problem you are having is that it is apparent to each lawyer you talk with that you are "shopping around" so no lawyer is taking you or your case seriously. I assume your consultations have all been free of charge.

If so, you are being quoted unrealistic estimates because the lawyers are unwilling to give you the time it takes for a realistic estimate of the cost and of your chances of success.

IMO, you would be better served paying an experienced litigator to review your case and to give you a realistic cost estimate. If you did that you might be quoted a flat fee for the task you need as opposed to an unrealistic estimate. Good luck.

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I think it is not possible for any attorney to predict or estimate the number of hours necessary to prepare a motion for summary judgment and the separate statement of undisputed material facts without an in-depth knowledge about the case and about the law covering the dispute.

Asking around for an estimate as to the number of hours required is really not a good way to estimate your bottom line cost. More experienced litigators don't need to spend as much time as a new admittee in preparing and in legal research, but their hourly rate will be much higher. You really should be asking about the merits of being able to prevail on an MSJ and then get an estimate on the total out-the-door fees and costs rather than comparing hour estimates.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.



I can't disagree with you but the question is how?! One can only assess through some objective means. I felt that a flat fee would not help in that some charge more than others. So I chose one portion or the case to see what I would get. I just don't know how better to do it.



(spelling mistake above) I meant one portion "of" the case


It is hard for any lawyer to give you a precise amount for a summary judgment or a response to a summary judgment. There is a lot of research that goes into a summary judgment which is a substantive motion. The amount of time in research could easily exceed thirty hours. I have spent on some summary judgments more than 100 hours between research and drafting the motion. Of course, it will depend on the issue and the complexity of the issue.

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