Try to Name the Famous Lawyer Who Bills at $1,800 an Hour

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on June 12, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

High-profile attorneys charge premium rates for their services, but it may be hard to top this: One of the nation's most prominent lawyers bills clients at the rate of $1,800 an hour, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That breaks down to $180 for every tenth of an hour billed -- that's, $30 a minute, or 50 cents per second.

Who is setting such a high bar for an attorney's legal fees?

None other than Ted Olson, the nation's former solicitor general. Olson famously represented George W. Bush in the Bush v. Gore dispute in 2000. He more recently argued to overturn Prop 8, California's anti gay-marriage initiative.

Currently a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Olson disclosed his billing rate in court filings related to a tech company's bankruptcy case, which The Journal obtained. Olson's $1,800 hourly rate is the highest ever publicly disclosed, according to a consulting firm that keeps track of such things.

The second highest-paid Gibson Dunn partner to work on the LightSquared bankruptcy is also a famous name, according to court filings. At $980 an hour, that distinction goes to Eugene Scalia, son of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Gibson Dunn is based in Los Angeles, but both Olson and Scalia work out of the firm's Washington, D.C., office, according to their law-firm biographies.

While $1,800 an hour seems like an outlier, four-figure hourly billing rates are actually becoming more common, The Journal's Law Blog reports. The number of law firm partners who billed at least $1,000 an hour grew by 75% between 2009 and 2011, according to a new report on attorney billing practices.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard