Shaunna Mireau has written a post on Slaw.ca called Sources Consulted and Legal Research Costs
that describes recent court decisions relating to the kinds of legal research costs law firms can legitimately charge clients:
"There are some recent decisions of the Federal Court that acknowledge the necessity of using online legal research sources and seem positioned to allow law firms to charge reasonable disbursements for them. The basis for having computer research costs allowed appears to be the ability to justify both the amount claimed, how it is calculated and the relevance and necessity of the research performed."
"The key to costs happiness will lie in how legal researchers keep track of their work. A researcher in a costs argument will have to explain that the disbursements for billed research on Westlaw or Quicklaw was both relevant and necessary to the file and reasonably calculated. Consider how handy it would be if your research output documented both the method and sources used and a notation about what the disbursement is for that particular piece of work. Documentation on how the disbursement is calculated in your organization should also be readily available."
Mireau is the Director of Knowledge Management and Libraries at Field Law in Edmonton, Alberta.
Labels: courts, e-resources, law firms, legal research and writing