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Lawyer Bills BigLaw Hours; Bar Calls BS and Suspends His License

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Derek Matthew Beaulieu is either incredibly dedicated to the service of Massachusetts' parents and children in juvenile court, or, he's an over-biller who misrepresented the amount of work he did for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The ABA Journal reports that it was the latter, as the state's bar association just suspended his license for the four years it will take to pay restitution for the overbilling.

In 2008, Beaulieu billed the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) for 1800 hours, the Connecticut Commission on Child Protection (CCP) for 1,143.5 hours, and the Trial Court of Massachusetts (TRC) for 699 hours. In total, that's 3,642.5 hours. In 2009, the total was 3,826.25 hours.

Assuming, as a zealous advocate and passionate public servant, that he worked all 52 weeks of each year, that is about a 70 hour workweek in 2008 and 72.53 hours per week in 2009. The numbers are hefty, but not unheard of - just ask junior BigLaw associates if they've ever worked 80-hour weeks.

Then again, that's ignoring the fact that sole practitioners also have administrative tasks, such as billing, accounting, tax paying, etc., that all have to be handled as well. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts referred to his billing statements, which were made under the "pains and penalties" of perjury as "inaccurate and greatly inflated, and/or simply false." They also didn't match up with his personal time records.

One factor working in Beaulieu's favor was that he had already agreed to make restitution for the excess payments. The court suspended his license for four years and ordered that he not reapply for reinstatement until he has paid in full.

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