Thursday, July 10, 2008

Expert Witness Expenses

If you frequently travel by car for business purposes, you may want to note that on July 1, 2008 the IRS raised the standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible costs of driving a vehicle from 50.5 cents to 58.5 cents. They normally only adjust the rate once, at the beginning of the year, but the rising cost of gas made a sixth month change seem more reasonable and fair. You can see more at


David said...

What are accepted guidelines for hours billed for travel to location of court for testifying? If flights are delayed, what is reasonable and appropriate time to bill client?

Rosalie Hamilton said...

Regarding David's questions, charging from your office to the destination is called Portal to Portal, and it is quite common. There is no standard for travel time rates. Some experts charge their regular hourly rate, with the consideration that travel hours are substituting for productive hours in their office. Other experts charge differently, e.g., half-rate, because they can do some work in airports and on planes. I've even seen one contract that said no travel time charge if air travel is First Class! I haven't heard any discussion of travel delay time, but I don't think it should work any differently from waiting time at court -- the expert is away from his office, "on the clock" for his attorney client, basically unable to perform remunerative duties for any other client.

Nonetheless, as always, it is important to strike a balance between appropriate compensation and the various extenuating circumstances that can arise in any case or situation or for any particular client.