Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Legal Bills — To What Extent Privileged?

Bills sent from lawyer to client are privileged only to the extent that they reflect the specific nature of legal services rendered. Otherwise, a bill for legal services is not privileged. See the recent decision in Sobba v. Elmen, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29172 (E.D. Ark. April 19, 2007), quoting Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F.3d 394, 403 (4th Cir. 1999) ("Typically, the attorney-client privilege does not extend to billing records and expense reports."); see also Baker v. Dorfman, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 378, No. 99 Civ. 9385(DLC), 2001 WL 55437, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 23, 2001) ("The attorney-client privilege protects confidential client information that is contained in legal bills, but fee statements that do not contain detailed accounts of the legal services rendered are not protected from disclosure." (internal quotation omitted)); accord Pollard v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., No. 95-3010, 2004 WL 784489, at *4 (W.D. Tenn., Feb. 24, 2004); DiBella v. Hopkins, 285 F. Supp. 2d 394, 409 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); Cypress Media, Inc. v. City of Overland Park, 268 Kan. 407, 425, 997 P.2d 681, 693 (2000).

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