Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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Departmental Billing Policy

Department of Justice Billing Policy and Practices

The Department of Justice (DOJ) legal billing system is established to allocate fairly the cost of providing the State's legal services. Billing information provides both DOJ and the client agency with a management tool and information concerning the legal work provided. The invoice includes a description of the legal work being performed, the time spent on the work and the dollar amount being charged.

Billings are the total of all professional staff hours worked at the applicable billing rates, plus any direct costs related to specific matters. Staff hours include all time that is related to the provision of legal services to specific agencies and programs.

Hourly Rates

Rates charged for professional staff time are based on actual costs of personnel, services and supplies, and other overhead. The rates pay for the time of the person rendering the service as well as clerical support, coordination and support systems (such as computers and law libraries) necessary to provide the service. These rates are significantly lower than rates charged by comparable private law firms.

Legislatively-Approved Legal Services Rates for 2013-2015
Rates Effective July 1, 2013

Assistant Attorney General $159 per hour
ADR Coordinator $93 per hour
Investigator $108 per hour
Paralegal $79 per hour
Law Clerk $52 per hour
*Clerical $47 per hour
 

Legislatively-Approved Legal Services Rates for 2011-2013

Assistant Attorney General $143 per hour
ADR Coordinator $93 per hour
Investigator $108 per hour
Paralegal $79 per hour
Law Clerk $39 per hour
Clerical $47 per hour
 

Legislatively-Approved Legal Services Rates for 2009-2011

Assistant Attorney General $137 per hour
ADR Coordinator $93 per hour
Investigator $108 per hour
Paralegal $77 per hour
Law Clerk $39 per hour
Clerical $45 per hour
 

Legislatively-Approved Legal Services Rates for 2007-2009

Assistant Attorney General $126 per hour
ADR Coordinator $80 per hour
Investigator $81 per hour
Paralegal $74 per hour
Law Clerk $46 per hour
Clerical $44 per hour
 

Legislatively-Approved Legal Services Rates for 2005-2007
Rates Effective July 1, 2005

Assistant Attorney General $111 per hour
ADR Coordinator $80 per hour
Investigator $76 per hour
Paralegal $69 per hour
Law Clerk $46 per hour
Clerical $44 per hour
 

Legislatively-Approved Legal Services Rates for 2003-2005

Assistant Attorney General $98 per hour
ADR Coordinator $80 per hour
Investigator $76 per hour
Paralegal $69 per hour
Law Clerk $46 per hour
Clerical $44 per hour
 

Legislatively-Approved Legal Services Rates for 2001-2003

Assistant Attorney General $97 per hour
ADR Coordinator $80 per hour
Investigator $69 per hour
Paralegal $69 per hour
Law Clerk $46 per hour
 

In limited circumstances, such as when an agency does not have its own clerical staff available for assistance on a legal project, DOJ provides clerical assistance and bills the agency at the legislatively-approved rate of $47 per hour.

How Legal Work Becomes an Invoice

When legal services involving more than a few hours of work are initiated, the attorney involved will have a matter number assigned to the project. Matters requiring less than a few hours of work may be billed to a "general" or "miscellaneous" matter number specific to an agency. The matters are then set up in the DOJ Matter Management System and the DOJ Legal Billing System. In order to begin tracking a matter the attorney will need information from the person making the request. That information includes:

  • Client's agency number
  • How the client would like issue described
  • Contact person for the issue

As attorneys and other professional staff work on an Agency's matter, they enter the actual time worked, the designated matter number, and a brief description of the tasks performed into an automated time tracking system. Each day the time entered into this system is transferred to the Legal Billing System.

When an invoice is generated, the hours worked are accumulated by matter number. The hourly rate for each classification of staff who worked on the issue is multiplied by the number of hours worked to obtain the amount to be charged. This is listed on the invoice as Total Fees. In addition, a detailed listing of expenses pertaining to a matter will appear on the invoice. The hours and expenses listed on an invoice include only items that have not been previously billed.

Client agencies receive monthly billings. Ordinarily, the monthly invoice will include only billings for work done in the prior month. Occasionally, time entry will be delayed and an invoice will include work for an earlier period. The billed amounts will be entered in the receivable records of the DOJ and the Statewide Financial Management System (SFMS).

Expenses and Other Costs

Expenses are billed only if they are incurred directly as part of a legal matter specific to an agency. These may include copy costs, court costs, witness fees, mileage, arbitrator's fees, online legal research, professional services contracts with specialists, and delivery services. Costs recovered, such as those from canceled witness fees, will be shown as credits to the agency.

Lexis

Included in the expenses above are costs for the use of a research service called Lexis. This is a service that allows electronic research of statutes and court decisions. With this capability, research can be performed more efficiently and thoroughly. Charges for the use of this service usually appear on agency billings a month or two after the legal staff's time has been billed due to the time required for DOJ to receive and process Lexis' invoices. In many cases, Lexis research is done by law clerks or paralegals under the supervision of legal counsel. The use of non-attorney personnel for this work reduces the hourly rate and overall cost for state agencies.

Legal Personnel's Time

The following points reflect DOJ's internal policies related to billing time. Please note that legal personnel's time directly related to an agency matter will be billed to the agency. For example, a phone call may take ten minutes, but the billing will include the time to write notes from the call to the file and enter the call into the billing system. Every effort has been made to automate those functions as much as possible to reduce billed time. Total time will be rounded up to the nearest .1 hour (6 minutes). You will be charged for the following items:

  • The time it takes to open and close files and enter necessary billing information into the billing system.
  • Research, including professional reading directly related to a legal issue or a specific matter for the client agency.
  • Legal personnel's attendance at continuing legal education programs, but only with prior approval of the client agency.
  • Time spent traveling to the agency's location or traveling on the agency's behalf.
  • Time spent for all work necessary to respond to a request for legal services , even if the agency did not ask specifically for every element of that work (based on the professional judgment of the attorney).
  • Time spent on work necessary to protect the legal interest of an agency even if that work has not been approved by the agency, such as for the time spent reviewing a complaint to determine whether and how it affects an agency and undertaking any necessary follow up.
  • Time spent by attorneys, attorney supervisors and other billing personnel responding to a billing question, unless the inquiry discloses an overcharge or other billing error by DOJ.
  • Time spent preparing for and following phone discussions. Review of the matter and writing notes to the file are included as time billed for a phone conversation.

Have a Question About Your Bill

There are times when an agency has questions about a billing or believes that a change should be made on a billing. The agency might not understand what the charge is for or who did the work. When you request any information about or a change to your agency's bill, please follow the procedures below:

The inquiry should be in writing and should include:

  • Client Agency Name
  • Client Number
  • DOJ Invoice Number
  • Matter Number (noted on the invoice)
  • Description of the question or concern
  • A copy of the specific entries involved

Attached is a copy of an inquiry form that can be mailed or faxed to DOJ Administrative Services. Please contact us if you would like an electronic copy of the inquiry form. Questions on the process should be directed to Rose Mattix (503 378-4622 or rose.mattix@doj.state.or.us).

Billing Disagreements

If a client agency questions the amount of a billing for time or expenses, and it is not an accounting question, DOJ Administrative Services will direct the question to the attorney or other professional staff responsible for the charge. That person will review the agency's question or concern, consult with his or her supervisor and provide a recommended response to the agency. If the recommendation involves a reduction or elimination of the charges, the supervisor will seek appropriate approvals within DOJ. An explanation of the recommendation and the resulting billing decision will be provided to the client agency along with a copy of any billing adjustments.

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