Grant D Stiefel

Grant D Stiefel

Attorney Fee Expert Testimony

Los Angeles , CA 90017
Mobile: 424-223-8252
Office: 424-223-8252

Introduction

GRANT STIEFEL, ESQ. is a nationally-recognized, full time attorneys’ fee consultant, testifying expert and the principal of Litigation Limited, a boutique legal fee consulting firm

* Mr. Stiefel has testified in over 45 lawsuits, including disputes in federal district courts, California trial courts, JAMS/AAA arbitrations, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, State Bar courts, and attorney-client fee arbitrations

* He has qualified to testify and has testified live at trials and arbitrations as a designated attorney fee expert

* Mr. Stiefel’s methodology for reviewing, auditing and evaluating legal invoices has been cited, approved and adopted by state and federal courts. Courthouse News Svc. v. Planet, Case No. CV 11-08083 SJO (C.D. Cal. 2016); MMM Holdings v. Reich, Case No. 30-2015-00822123-CU-BT-CJC (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2018)

* He has been retained as a testifying attorney fee expert by the world’s largest law firms, including Reed Smith, McDermott Will and Emery, Jones Day, Sheppard Mullin, Sidley Austin, Dykema Gossett, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Littler Mendelson, among many others

* Mr. Stiefel is a member of the California State Bar and is unique among fee experts in that he practiced law for many years at two of the world’s largest law firms (Akin Gump and K&L Gates)

* Mr. Stiefel has managed a multi-billion dollar litigation portfolio and has audited hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees from law firms nationwide since 2008

* He is a California State Bar-approved continuing legal education instructor on attorneys’ fees who has trained hundreds of executives and in-house counsel from a host of Fortune 500 corporations

* Mr. Stiefel is qualified as an attorney-client fee dispute arbitrator with the California State Bar’s Mandatory Fee Arbitration program and as a judge pro tem with the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles

* Mr. Stiefel provides powerful, cost-effective analysis, fee declarations and trial testimony

RECENT ENGAGEMENTS

* Grant Stiefel was the testifying fee expert on a series of fee applications by class counsel in Jones v. Wells Fargo, on behalf of aggrieved California consumers in the first consumer class action brought under the Unruh Act.  Relying upon Mr. Stiefel's testimony regarding the reasonableness of hourly rates and overall work performed, the trial court awarded more than $25 million in attorneys' fees to class counsel

* The district court for the Central District of California adopted and approved Mr. Stiefel's methodology for identifying and quantifying block-billed, vague and redacted billing entries in cutting Plaintiff's fee request by more than sixty percent in CNS v. Planet. In this First Amendment dispute, Plaintiff sought more than $4.8 million in attorneys fees, claiming more than 11,000 hours of billable work over five years of litigation. Mr. Stiefel's expert analysis allowed the trial court to clearly identify and quantify the vague, redacted and block-billed time entries, and apply Mr. Stiefel's recommended discounts of $708,682.39 for block billing and $186,189.62 to vague and redacted entries. The trial court further eliminated more than 1,300 claimed hours of work identified by Mr. Stiefel as duplicative and non-compensable

* In Vides v. ABM Janitorial Services, the trial court reduced Plaintiff's fee request in a FEHA action by over $1 million based upon Grant Stiefel's expert testimony. Plaintiff moved for an award of $1,578,232.50 in attorneys' fees, which the trial court reduced to $544,183.12. Mr. Stiefel's testimony showed that the hourly rates claimed by Plaintiff's counsel were unreasonable under the circumstances, that excessive time was spent on inter-office communications, and that the matter was overstaffed

* In MMM Holdings v. Reich, the Orange County Superior Court slashed Defendant's request for $789,692 in fees on an anti-SLAPP motion and subsequent appeal by more than 75 percent. Although Defendant had prevailed at both the trial and appellate levels, Mr. Stiefel's expert testimony demonstrated that Defendant's fee request was padded with excessive time for attorney conferencing, block-billed and redacted billing entries, and that tasks were not appropriately distributed to lower-billing associates or paralegals. Based upon Mr. Stiefel's expert opinion testimony, the Court limited the fee award to $190,090


Areas of Expertise

  • Legal Ethics
  • Legal Fees
  • Legal Malpractice

Expert Background

Q: Please list your professional accreditations, degrees, licenses, and certificates granted:
A: Mr. Stiefel's professional qualifications, degrees and bar admissions include:
* State Bar of California
* United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
* United States District Court for the Central District of California
* United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
* United States District Court for the Southern District of California
* United States District Court for the Southern District of California
* California State Bar Certified Continuing Legal Education Provider
* Juris Doctor, University of Southern California School of Law
* Bachelor of Arts, University of Southern California
Q: Please list your affiliations or memberships in any professional and/or industry organizations:
A: Mr. Stiefel is a member of the following organizations:
* National Association of Legal Fee Analysis (NALFA)
* A.M. Best Certified Attorney Fee Practice Group
* Thompson Reuters Round Table Group
* The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
* Los Angeles County Bar Association Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services
* USC Gould School of Law Alumni Association
* Century City Bar Association
Q: Please list any teaching or speaking experience you have had, including subject matter:
A: Mr. Stiefel has lectured and published extensively (see c.v. for complete list):
* “Block Billing by Law Firms Costs Clients Millions in Just Three Lawsuits” Smart WebParts
* “Recent Developments in Block Billing” JD Supra
* “Ten Things You Need to Know About Law Firm Billing”
* “The Client’s Guide to Law Firm Billing” HG Experts
* California State Bar MCLE Presentations on Law Firm Billing Practices
Q: On how many occasions have you been retained as an expert?
A: Mr. Stiefel has testified as a qualified attorney fee expert in more than 45 disputes in state and federal courts, arbitrations and state bar hearings
Q: In what percentage of your cases were you retained by the plaintiff?
A: 50% fee-seeking party.
Q: In what percentage of your cases were you retained by the defendant?
A: 50% fee-opposing party.
Q: When was the last time you had your deposition taken?
A: This year.
Q: On how many occasions have you been qualified by a court to give expert testimony?
A: Mr. Stiefel has qualified to provide expert testimony regarding attorneys' fee issues on dozens of occasions.
Q: On how many occasions have you testified as an expert in court or before an arbitrator?
A: Mr. Stiefel has testified in California state court trials, federal courts in numerous jurisdictions, JAMS/AAA arbitrations, mandatory attorney-client fee arbitrations and State Bar courts.
Q: For how many years have you worked with the legal industry as an expert?
A: Mr. Stiefel has reviewed hundreds of millions of dollars in law firm billings since 2008, and has been a full-time fee expert and consultant since 2012.
Q: What services do you offer? (E.g.: consulting, testing, reports, site inspections etc.)
A: Mr. Stiefel serves as a testifying and consulting expert for both plaintiffs and defendants in the following areas:
* Overall reasonableness of legal fees and costs
* Evaluation of legal fees and costs, including "desktop audits" of invoices and in-depth review of underlying representation
* Evaluation of law firm and lawyer billing rates
* Evaluate law firm retention/selection processes and role of coordinating counsel
* Preparation of expert reports and supporting declarations in support or opposition to attorneys' fee motions and petitions and attorney-client disputes
* Expert trial and deposition testimony in support or opposition to attorneys' fee motions and petitions and attorney-client disputes

References

Grant Stiefel has been retained by many of the world's largest law firms, top-tier plaintiff and class action firms, and a number of regional and solo firms to provide compelling, cost-effective analysis and testimony regarding legal fee issues. Sample law firm clients include:

* Jones Day
* Sidley Austin
* Morrison Foerster
* Littler Mendelson
* Buchalter Nemer
* Dykema Gossett
* Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
* Stroock Stroock & Lavan
* Reed Smith