The Devil's Advocate®
Legal Fee Management & Litigation Consulting


Our 22nd Year  
Thanks to all our clients and friends  





Welcome to The Devil's Advocate

    Established in 1993, The Devil's Advocate is the leading authority on legal fees and legal fee management.  Our clients include major corporations, government agencies, law firms, insurance companies, and anyone else who pays substantial legal fees, needs to examine the reasonableness of fees, or wishes to analyze litigation issues.  (To respect the confidentiality of our clients, we do not advertise names of our many clients, which include a substantial percentage of the Fortune 500, for example.)  We have reviewed most of the firms in the annual lists of large law firms published by the legal press, plus hundreds of other firms.  And we've been hired by many such firms, too.

    We are nationally-recognized for our legal fee management and litigation consulting expertise, including legal bill reviews (or "legal bill audits") and expert testimony.  Our engagements include supporting or challenging legal bills on behalf of lawyers, clients, and where fee-shifting and fee petitions (e.g., class actions and bankruptcies) are involved.  We have examined over $1 billion in legal fees from over a thousand law firms, in hundreds of engagements.  But we do much more than just review bills, from selecting the right lawyer, negotiating a fair fee agreement, monitoring staff and performance, establishing and tracking budgets and estimates, reviewing work product, tactics, and strategy, and resolving fee and other disputes.

      Everyone is welcome to browse our site for helpful information.  See Important Notices for the website terms of use.  We also have links on this website to other resources.

       Link to our site to help others find us:  Devil's Advocate | Legal Fee Management

 Get Your Fresh CLE Here  


Devil's Advocate provides continuing legal education (CLE) and in-house training on legal fee issues, litigation management, and other topics.

Current topics include:

  • Fee-Shifting:  Supporting and Challenging Fee Petitions
  • Client Fee Disputes:  Charging Reasonable Fees
  • Octane Fitness:  The Supreme Court opens the floodgates for patent fee-shifting

Visit our Legal Education page for details



 We wrote the book on legal fees 

The authoritative text on legal fees & how to manage them is ...


 Our Free Legal Fees Pamphlet 

An organized, detailed summary of legal fees issues ...

Legal Fees: Law & Management

by John Toothman & Prof. William G. Ross

The authoritative and most influential book about legal fees and managing lawyers.

More information





Reasonable Legal Fees 2d

Our pamphlet on reasonable fees, from the perspective of lawyers and clients:  To Get Paid, Get Reasonable

Extensive discussion of the general legal basis for reasonable legal fees and expenses and how those issues are handled in common litigation and ethical situations. 

Also describes common legal bill review ("audit") issues.

The second edition is now available for free in "pdf" electronic format.

     Use this link to e-mail us your request: 


  Two Books for Clients & Lawyers from The Civilian's Guide to Lawyers 

The Civilian's Guide to Lawyers™:
 How to Hire a Lawyer ($9.90; 44,000 words) 

Amazon Kindle Edition
Barnes & Noble ePub Edition



The Client's Bill of Rights:  Based on our original Client Bill of Rights™.  Includes the ten rights all clients have and all lawyers should respect.  ($2.99; 7,700 words)

Amazon Kindle Edition
Barnes & Noble ePub Edition


Our Legal Fee Management & Litigation Consulting Services

 Devil's Advocate brings the perspective of experienced trial lawyers to legal fee analysis and litigation management.

Our services include:

Litigation Evaluation

Evaluate litigation options, including cost-benefit analysis of potential litigation. Assess case risk and settlement value. Analyze potential legal fee disputes and legal malpractice claims.

Independent Counsel

Assist clients who do not have in-house counsel by providing an in-house, independent perspective and litigation management consulting services.

Lawyer Selection

Help clients to select qualified, cost-effective, and experienced counsel (or replacement counsel) to fit any engagement.

Fee Agreements

Draft "client-friendly" fee agreements for hourly, contingent, hybrid, and other alternative fee engagements to avoid many of the lopsided terms some firms use. Evaluate the effectiveness of alternative fees.

Estimating Fees

Establish matter plans and itemized budgets or estimates. Analyze potential fee and hourly rate benchmarks and conduct fee surveys. Evaluate and improve fee estimating process. Reconcile budgets/estimates against actual bills.

Litigation Monitoring

Monitor law firm performance (and usually bills) as litigation progresses, looking for problems with performance and fees, as well as tactical and strategic options, including settlement.

Litigation Tactical Support

Beyond case evaluation and monitoring, provide advanced strategy and tactics consulting for pre-trial and trial. Act as "Devil’s Advocate" in moot court for arguments and trial prep, assist with advanced witness preparation, conduct opposition research and emulation for role-playing in prep.

Second Opinions

Analyze significant litigation issues to provide clients or law firms with independent second opinions on options and cost-benefit concerns.

Legal Bill Reviews

Independent forensic or management review of legal fees, rates, expenses, and work product, often as a basis for expert testimony. This may include review of bills in realtime (as bills are issued to monitor performance and cost) as well as in the event of fee disputes and fee-shifting petitions. Includes reviews challenging or supporting the reasonableness of fees and expenses, as well as quality of performance. Bill reviews are a basic tool that is part of legal fee management, post mortems, malpractice and ethics reviews, and other DA services. Bill reviews are sometimes referred to as legal fee audits.

Expert Testimony

Expert testimony presenting the results of any DA analysis or review, including legal bill reviews, ethical issues, and legal malpractice.

Legal Fee Examiner

Neutral, independent legal bill reviews and analysis of related issues as court-appointed expert, mediator, arbitrator, special master, receiver, or the like.

Litigation Post Mortems

Analyze litigation performance and fees after the fact, including fees, either for management purposes or to evaluate potential ethics, fee, or malpractice issues.

We're uniquely qualified:

Devil's Advocate and its unique services have been featured in stories by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bottomline, CBS Radio's Marketplace, Inc. Magazine, The Business News Network, Entrepreneur magazine, The New Jersey Law Journal, New York Post, New York Law Journal, Legal Times, Nation's Business, American Lawyer, California Lawyer, Miami Herald, Virginia Business Magazine, Of Counsel, D&B Report, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and many more publications.

For clients without in-house legal counsel, we provide our Independent Counsel service to fill the legal management gap at a reasonable cost.

We strive to provide cost-effective services while promoting an equitable lawyer-client relationship.

We are independent.  We do not prejudge any legal bill or law firm.  We are not owned by nor are we affiliated with any other entity, such as an insurance company or law firm.

Our legal fee reviews and audits are based on established, legal, not arbitrary, standards.

We track ethical rules and maintain the confidentiality of our work as allowed by law.

We provide continuing legal education (CLE) and training courses for lawyers, law firms, in-house legal departments, and anyone else dealing with the legal system, lawyers and fees.

We use proprietary methods and software to automate and expedite review, but we dig deep with a line-by-line analysis.

The fees we charge for our services are the most reasonable and cost-effective in the country.

Our services are provided nationwide.  We also work with international clients, especially those dealing with US law firms or legal fee issues.

Devil's Advocate is also known as TLF Consulting, our more bland name.

DA has been registered as a federal contractor through the GSA Central Contractor Registry.

     Since The Devil's Advocate was founded in 1993, we have been the pre-eminent national authority on legal fee management.  We have also pioneered litigation consulting to monitor lawyer performance as well as cost.

     Browse our web-site for more information about our services, our experience, and samples of our work.   We've included articles by and about us.  You'll also find valuable monographs we have prepared, including the Client Bill of Rights, Managing Lawyers and Legal Fees, and our Client-Friendly Billing Agreement.


Devil's Advocate Home

What's Hot at DA

Contacts/Questions (FAQ)

E-Mail to DA

Important Notices

Who We Are:

Our Staff
Care to Join Us?

What We Do:

Our Services
Expert Legal Bill Reviews
Neutral Fee Exam & Masters
More Services & Issues
We're Uniquely Qualified
Legal Education for All
Independent Counsel

Free (or Cheap) Help:

Lawyer Questions?
Civilian's Guide Blog
Retention Agreement
Client's Bill of Rights

Articles & Publications:

Legal Fees: Law & Management
Managing Legal Fees
DA in the Press
Articles by DA
Press Releases


Slide Presentations

Last update: 01/07/15

Established 1993

Our 22nd Year  Civilian's Guide to Lawyers (the Blog)

For more information, contact our Marketing Director,
Elizabeth McGee
The Devil's Advocate, PO Box 8, Great Falls, Virginia 22066 (USA)
Phone: (703) 684-6996 * Fax: (202) 499-7011 * E-mail: Devil's Advocate

Conditions for site use & important notices
The Devil's Advocate® is a registered trademark, and Independent Counsel, Civilian's Guide to Lawyers, the Client-Friendly Billing Agreement, and the Client Bill of Rights™ are trademarks of The Devil's Advocate or licensed to DA.
All materials in this web-site copyright January, 2015 by The Devil's Advocate (licensed to Devil's Advocate, LLC a/k/a TLF Consulting). All rights reserved.
We do not provide legal advice by e-mail or through this site.  We do not provide legal representation.  All DA engagements must be in writing.
The information in this website represents our opinions (or opinions of others) and is believed to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that they apply to your situation.

Visit Devil's Advocate for legal fee management and litigation consulting, including legal bill reviews, expert testimony, legal malpractice, and lawyer ethics issues

keywords: The Devil's Advocate, John Toothman (founder), legal fee management, litigation consulting, trial lawyers, legal fee analysis, controlling legal costs, legal cost control, lawyer cost management, legal expense management, alternative legal fees, trial practice, civil litigation, discovery, American Rule, client, lawyer, legal fees, attorney fees, hiring lawyers, attorneys, expert witness, expert testimony, lawyer bill, legal fee invoices, litigation management, fee petitions, bankruptcy, legal bill audit, legal bill review, fee shifting, prevailing party, legal expenses, second opinions, monitoring counsel, legal fee budgets, legal fee estimates, legal malpractice, audit legal bills, general counsel, independent counsel, hourly rates, hourly fees.

Publications include: To Get Paid, Get Reasonable, Trial Practice Checklists (West Group); Legal Fees: Law and Management (Carolina Academic Press), CGL, Civilian's Guide to Lawyers, Client Bill of Rights, Client-friendly billing agreement, hourly fees.

Headquarters in Great Falls, Northern Virginia, USA, in the Metropolitan Washington DC (District of Columbia) area.