BigLaw accomplice added 'anecdotal hours' to customer bills, justifying a 2-year suspension, court says

 BigLaw accomplice added 'anecdotal hours' to customer bills, justifying a 2-year suspension, court says 


Customers were happy with crafted by legal counselor Doreen Zankowski, who buckled down really hard and created incredible outcomes, as indicated by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. 


However, generous proof shows that Zankowski added anecdotal hours to customers' bills, adding up to many hours, as indicated by the top Massachusetts court's March 25 choice. That offense justifies a two-year suspension as opposed to the half year suspension forced in an earlier choice by a solitary individual from the court, the new choice said. Reuters Legal and Law360 have inclusion. 


The overbilling happened at Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr, which inferred that Zankowski had expanded last bills by about $216,000. Saul Ewing returned overabundance installments or attributed customers for what it considered to be overbilled hours. Zankowski is currently an accomplice at Duane Morris. 


Saul Ewing had researched after Zankowski revealed to her specialty seat that she worked 3,173 billable hours and in excess of 720 nonbillable hours in 2015. 


A consultation board didn't credit Zankowski's declaration about working those hours, particularly since Zankowski had traveled in Europe and made three individual outings to Hawaii that very year. She likewise ventured out to San Diego, Denver, Chicago, New York and a few urban communities in Texas, the Supreme Judicial Court said. 


Zankowski didn't keep contemporaneous charging records. All things considered, she depended on her colleague to make first-draft charging reports that Zankowski altered before they were gone into the framework. The firm would then create draft bills consistently. Between March 2015 and November 2015, Zankowski put 450 hours on the draft tabs. 


A portion of the hours were attributed to herself and some to partners. Zankowski affirmed she really accomplished the work however attributed it to partners to give customers the advantage of the lower charging rate. 


Other than the respondent's own declaration, in any case, there isn't anything to help her case the Supreme Judicial Court said. The hours were not considered the respondent's records and some way or another 'missed' by her associate when she entered the respondent's time in the association's timekeeping framework. There were no reports or other work item that validated the case.


Zankowski would have needed to work over 24 hours every day on 12 distinct dates—if the hours Zankowski said she worked however ascribed to partners were added to her own hours, the court said. 


The court said there was no compelling reason to demonstrate that each of the 450 hours put on customer tabs were false. It does the trick to say that false charging was set up and upheld by the significant proof, the court said. 


Zankowski didn't promptly react to an ABA Journal email looking for input.