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Claim form Line 1 or 23 – Where does family communication time go?

Effective Date: 04/04/08

Family communication time is normally claimed on Line 23 UNLESS it also facilitates client communication, in which case it should be billed on Line 1. Line 1 time needs to be supported by an explanation that describes the circumstantial need for assisted third-party communication. Communication through third parties may be particularly justifiable, for example, when representing clients who do not speak English, are very young, suffer from mental illness, or have been convicted of a sex offense and refuse prison communications about the case. (We also recommend that you get your client’s permission in writing for assisted communications.)

Other types of family communications that promote the attorney-client relationship but are unnecessary to the handling of the direct appeal (e.g., contacts with family members for the purpose of reassuring them, with prison officials on a client’s medical condition, or with the client’s attorney in a civil case) should only be claimed on Line 23. This type of communication is only minimally compensable and should be supported by a reasonable explanation.