Long a question in legal fee cases is whether the cost of electronic legal research [monthly, or per case] is part of the general overhead of a lawfirm, or a cost which may be awarded to the successful attorney?

Here is a case: Insinga v. Cooperative Centrale Raiffeisen Boerenleenbank B.A., 03 Civ. 7775
Decided: March 12, 2007  District Judge Richard J. Holwell  U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK  [case viewable by subscription] which holds that electronic legal research costs are recoverable in the 2d Circuit.

Here is a quote from the case.  Note that the court also awards fees for bringing the motion for fees.

"With respect to costs, although plaintiff has outlined the types of costs for which he requests reimbursement, he has not yet submitted figures to the Court. Defendants have reserved their right to respond to plaintiff’s specific requests after he submits a bill to the Court. In the meantime, defendants object to one category of plaintiff’s request: reimbursement for electronic legal research. The Second Circuit has made clear, though, that "charges for such online research may properly be included in a fee award." Arbor Hill Concerned Citizens Neighborhood Ass’n v. County of Albany, 369 F.3d 91, 98 (2d Cir. 2004); see also James, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5401, at *67 ("Legal research costs are recoverable in an application for attorneys’ fees."); Raniola v. Bratton, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7199 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (awarding cost of Westlaw research because, "absent the use of computer research, the awarded attorney’s fees would probably be larger" (internal citation omitted)).

The Court therefore directs plaintiff to submit a bill detailing the costs for which it seeks reimbursement, including electronic legal research, within thirty days of this Opinion. The Court also grants plaintiff leave at that time to submit a supplemental motion for the legal services rendered after the date this motion was first served, which, among other things, will presumably include records for time spent defending this motion and preparing plaintiff’s opposition to defendant’s unsuccessful motion for judgment as a matter of law. See also Weyant v. Okst, 198 F.3d 311, 314 (2d Cir. 1999) (permitting compensation for time spent after the initial fee application, including time spent in preparing and defending an application for fees). "

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Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.