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Drinker Biddle & Reath Attorney Overbilled Client
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Drinker Biddle & Reath

Summary: A former staff attorney for Drinker Biddle & Reath over-billed his time by almost 419 hours, resulting in a two-year suspension.

Hart Perkel was given a two-year suspension from practicing law after confessing to over-billing his time of document review with Drinker Biddle & Reath. His suspension is retroactive to June 2014 when he was first placed on temporary suspension.

  
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Perkel was working as a staff attorney at Drinker Biddle from November 2011 to November 2012 during which he was reviewing documents for litigation on behalf of the firm’s client Maxus Energy Corp. He was being paid $40 an hour while the firm billed clients $245 an hour. Perkel over-billed by 418.5 hours, or a total of $102,500. He has been paying back the firm by $100 each month.

The discrepancy in his hours surfaced when the firm compared their e-discovery system to their time accounting system and Perkel’s hours didn’t match up. The firm has internal controls such as two reporting programs to help monitor all billing. Two of Drinker Biddle’s attorneys confronted Perkel, who admitted to the over-billing. He was then terminated. Perkel agreed to pay the firm back the $12,250 in unearned wages. The firm refunded the entire bill charged to the client.

Perkel self-reported his misconduct to the disciplinary board. This and other factors such as his cooperation with the board, expressed remorse, no record of prior discipline, and being young and inexperienced affected their decision for a two year sentence. Perkel was prepared to present evidence that is ADD, depression, and other conditions affected his actions if the case went to trial.

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The three-member panel disciplinary board of board members Lawrence M Kelly, Brian J Cali, and P Brennan Hart recommended the two-year suspension. The Supreme Court granted that recommendation. Perkel was represented by Andrew Chirls of Fineman Krekstein & Harris.

Source: http://www.thelegalintelligencer.com/home/id=1202727597064



Photo: Wikipedia.org



 

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