Press reports on the end of the Kobe Bryant case estimate that he spent $12 million on lawyers and other services related to his defense, *which never even went to trial. * Numbers like this seem to turn up in every high-profile criminal case. I’m not taking sides about the merits of the Bryant case itself. But I don’t understand how the legal bills could get so big so fast, especially in a case which essentially comes down only to the conflicting testimony of the two parties involved (as opposed, say, to a complex product liability class-action suit). What did Kobe’s lawyers do for their $12 million?
They billed him.
What did they do? They kept him out of prison. And he probably considers that the best $12 million he ever spent …
What is $12 mil to him? That is about half of his annual income isn’t it?
Even at $250 per hour, which is probably very low in a high profile case, 40 hours a week is $10000 per week. It adds up fast. His fees would cover his lawyers, paralegals and other fees consultants and lawyers like to tack on.
Case went over a year and I’m sure the lawyers were billing more than 250 and more than 40 hours a week.
Is something like this billed hourly? I wonder what the itemized invoice looks like…
The case has been going on for, what, a little over a year? Call it 1.2 years. Suppose, during that time, ten people worked full-time on his case. Let’s figure they worked 60 hours a week (hard workers, all of 'em!). 3000 hours/year per person gives us a whopping 36,000 man-hours. I’m largely pulling these numbers out of thin air; I’m trying to err on the generous side with the number of hours.
So the bill comes up to $12,000,000? That would be an average of about $330/hr - as an average figure, from Pamela Mackey on down to the dude doing the filing.
Like I said, those numbers are highly speculative, as I’ve absolutely NO knowledge of how legal offices really work.
$12 MM seems high to me too, but just to play the other side, consider this: your above scenario does not include expenses (everything from photocopies to airline travel to interview witnesses, and everything in between), hiring experts in everything from psychology to gynecology to jury selection, and on and on and on.
When “cost for legal defense” is thrown out, it’s not always just attorney time.
Of course, some of this money would be filing fees, courier fees, etc. A certain amount goes into the business - supplies and such. Plus a fair bit to the partners. And Uncle Sam gets a bite.
And I’m sure I’m missing stuff - I have no idea what I’m talking about, but overhead and profits are part of any business’ fees. Employee-related costs are usually by far the biggest piece of the overhead pie but Bryant was shelling out for much more than payroll.
Well, when my sister worked at a law firm here as a legal assistant, they billed in “blocks” of time.
Answering the phone = 10 minutes
Responding to email = 10 minutes
Attending a meeting = however long it takes
Printing an email for lawyer = 10 minutes
You get the picture.
Of course, all pro-rated to 400.00 per hour.
Any other thing that they could bill for got lumped in too.
Do the math on a long-running case, and, well,
Giggidey! Giggedey! Giggedey! Jackpot!
Kobe Bryant’s new contract pays him $136.4 million over 7 years so I don’t think $12 million is half his annual salary.
But it’s likely that his endorsement contracts will go up now.