Attorney Fee-Shifting Litigation

Obtaining and Contesting Attorney Fees and Cost Awards

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE seminar will review the legal standards for attorney fee shifting, including key case law developments and how to determine reasonable attorneys fees and costs. The panel will outline best practices for obtaining and contesting fee and cost awards.


The cost of litigation is a critical issue for clients. There are scores of statutes governing attorney fee awards, and myriad court decisions addressing attorney fee-shifting. Determining a client’s ability to obtain fees and costs or its liability for an adversary’s fees is no easy feat.

Counsel must consider nuanced issues such as multipliers for complexity of case, forum rates, effect of prior settlement negotiations, and catalyst fees. The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in a case to determine whether quality of work and results obtained can increase lodestar awards.

Applying the legal standards is just the start. You also must skillfully present, argue and prove work performed. Proof issues require carefully reviewing timesheets for duplication, knowing when to use experts, and determining whether affidavit testimony will suffice and is admissible.

Listen as our authoritative panel of litigators discusses the evolving standards for attorney fees awards and best practices for obtaining and opposing attorney fees awards.



  1. Standards for attorney fee awards
    1. Prevailing party
    2. Lodestar approach
    3. Factors increasing or decreasing awards
    4. Forum rates
    5. Effect of prior settlement negotiations
  2. Maximizing and opposing fees awards
    1. Reasonable fees and forum rates
    2. Apportionment of claims
    3. Inextricably linked claims
    4. Reasonable costs
  3. Proving fees and costs
    1. Procedural standards
    2. Use of expert witnesses
    3. Affidavit testimony
    4. Auditing of timesheet entries
    5. Preserving fee awards on appeal


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How have courts applied the lodestar approach to awarding attorney fees?
  • How do you apportion fees between claims entitled to fees and those not—and how inextricably intertwined claims can maximize an attorney fees award?
  • What effect does prior rejection of a settlement offer have on the prevailing party's attorney fee award?
  • Under what circumstances is it appropriate to increase a lodestar award based on quality of performance and results obtained?


Gregory M. Bergman
Gregory M. Bergman

Bergman & Dacey

He engages in complex trials and appeals in the areas of business, construction, labor and employment, environmental,...  |  Read More

John P. Dacey
John P. Dacey

Bergman & Dacey

He represents numerous general contractors and owners, such as school districts, sanitary districts, non-profit and...  |  Read More

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