Mike Rains, Rocky Lucia, and Harry Stern, 08/13/13
By the time you receive this Client Alert, many of you will have seen or become aware of an email sent to PORAC LDF Clients throughout the state concerning substantial billing irregularities committed by an unidentified LDF Panel Firm in California.
Make no mistake about it, RLS is NOT the subject law firm.
While we at RLS are not aware of the specifics, we want to commend LDF Legal Administrator Ed Fishman, each member of the LDF Board of Trustees and the leadership of PORAC for having the integrity and the fortitude to pursue this sensitive and serious matter. We also applaud the decision to announce the results of the investigation to LDF members throughout California.
As counsel to well over 100 law enforcement related organizations which belong to LDF, we cannot conceive of any possible situation in which a lawyer would be able to practically bill LDF for more than 4200 hours of work in a calendar year. To explain this in the simplest of terms, a lawyer who billed 4200 hours in a year would have to minimally work around 11.5 hours a day for 365 days straight.
Our clients who have joined LDF have every reason to expect and demand that the lawyers they choose to represent them will provide aggressive and tenacious representation. We at RLS have consistently received approval from Ed Fishman and his staff for special investigations, expert consultation and testimony, or forensic work we required in order to effectively represent our clients. We assume that the Trustees of LDF have not taken this action because they want to short change the representation of LDF clients. They have done so because they have determined that a law firm representing many of their law enforcement clients appears to have engaged in massive over-billing. The net effect of these alleged practices constitutes misappropriating money from all other LDF clients throughout California.
We fully expect that at some point there will be a full investigation and disclosure of the facts and explanation offered. In the meantime we will continue to adhere to our long-standing commitment to ethical billing practices.
We at RLS are proud of our long-standing record of representing our LDF clients tenaciously and ethically. We are also proud to do work for PORAC and PORAC LDF.
Finally, we join with PORAC, the Legal Defense Fund, Ed Fishman and the LDF Trustees in denouncing what appears to be indefensible billing practices by this particular law firm. We are proud of our commitment to put the interests of all of our clients above our own, and cannot countenance the thought that law enforcement officers would support a practice engaged-in by their own lawyers to do otherwise. It is our firm belief that LDF’s ability to identify potential billing irregularities is a strong indication of the integrity and viability of the Fund moving forward.