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Richlin Security Service Co. v. Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security

This case concerned the scope of fee shifting under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The Federal Circuit held that fees for paralegal services may only be awarded to prevailing parties at cost, rather than at market rates. In light of disagreement among the courts of appeals on the question, we represented a plaintiff in seeking Supreme Court review. We argued that the Federal Circuit’s decision was inconsistent with Supreme Court authority and that, if paralegal services are recoverable only at cost under EAJA, firms will be less likely to use paralegals for appropriate tasks under the direction of an attorney, and more likely to use attorneys when unnecessary, creating both much greater litigation costs and inefficiency in the legal market. The Court granted the petition, and ruled in our favor.