April 18, 2013

March 1990 - Is That a Reasonable Fee?

This is from a hearing before the Texas Railroad Commission. It comes from Jack Balagia, Jr. of Austin (McGinnis, Lochridge, etc): he explains that An Unnamed Austin Lawyer is testifying in support of the reasonableness of the hourly rates being charged by his firm - which were to be passed through to the customers by the gas utility his firm was representing:

Q. [T]he client is charged for those fees (of the law firm in this Commission proceeding)?

A. That's correct.

Q. And he is also paying for those fees rather than the rate-payers. Is that not true?

A. That is correct.

Q. All right, I notice here Mr. [Name Partner] only charges $130 an hour. In fact, you are the only one I see that is charging $500 an hour.

A. Well, Mr. [Name Partner] - that's all that I see here that Mr. [Name Partner] charged on that, but that is not his hourly rate, and I don't know how that happened to be that low because that is not -

Q. Do you think he took compassion on the ratepayers?

A. I have no idea how it happened. Normally in my business - I'm not involved in the compassion business. We charge by the hour