Billing rates to state of Idaho for outside legal counsel

I have read with some interest your story of May 13 regarding the litigation expense of the outside attorney for the Superintendent of Public Instruction in her pending case before the Idaho Supreme Court. Your article was reprinted verbatim in the Idaho Statesman on May 14.

You there compared the $400 per hour fee charged by counsel David Leroy as against the salary rate about $200 per hour (or less) for the deputy attorney generals and as compared to the annual salary of the Attorney General himself.

Please allow me to put this in some perspective. I write as a lawyer with approximately 61 years of experience, seven of which were as a Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. I have been in solo practice, as well as a partner in law firms ranging from two to forty attorneys.

In my most recent experience as a solo practitioner, I paid my assistant who was a combined paralegal, secretary and office manager approximately $66,000 per year plus medical insurance, workers compensation insurance, and unemployment compensation insurance.

My share to one firm was $2,750 per month ($33,000 per year) for rent, general office staffing, equipment, etc.  Additionally, approximately $3,100 per year for mandatory malpractice insurance.

To the best of my knowledge attorneys in the office of the Attorney General pay none of the above as a deduct from their monthly checks.

Attorneys in Boise with David Leroy’s expertise and experience command fees at $450 or more per hour. Further, it is doubtful, in these expedited proceedings, that his fees will reach $200,000, and the public should not have been provided with that impression.

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