Reasonable Attorney Fees in Minnesota vs. Lodestar Factors | Attorney Aaron Hall
Minneapolis Business Attorney Aaron Hall, Minnesota

Reasonable Attorney Fees in Minnesota vs. Lodestar Factors

Throughout the United States, many jurisdictions use the Lodestar factors as a standard to determine whether attorney’s fees are reasonable. The Lodestar standard has been part of the common law, refined by courts over the years.

Minnesota’s approach to determining whether attorney’s fees are reasonable generally aligns with the Lodestar factors.

Minnesota Standard

Minnesota’s approach to determining the reasonableness of attorney’s fees is codified in Rule 1.5(a) of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct:

“A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:

  1. the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
  2. the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
  3. the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
  4. the amount involved and the results obtained;
  5. the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
  6. the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
  7. the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and
  8. whether the fee is fixed or contingent.”

Lodestar Standard

The Lodestar standard generally involves considering the following factors:

  1. the time and labor involved;
  2. the novelty and difficulty of the question
  3. the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
  4. the preclusion of employment by the attorney due to the acceptance of the case;
  5. the customary fee;
  6. whether the fee is fixed or contingent;
  7. time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances;
  8. the amount involved and the results obtained;
  9. the experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney;
  10. the “undesirability” of the case;
  11. the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client; and
  12. awards in similar cases.

See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 434 (1983).