Laffey Matrix

A formula or table used by US courts to determine the reasonable hourly rate to be applied in awards of attorneys’ fees under attorney fee shifting provisions. The origin of the Laffey Matrix is a 1983 case Laffey v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., which held that hourly rates for attorneys practicing civil law in the Washington, DC metropolitan area could be categorized by years in practice and adjusted yearly for inflation. The US Attorney’s office in Washington DC has since kept this matrix up to date using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Laffey Matrix is not universally used in US courts, but several circuits have adopted it. The current Laffey Matrix is normally available on the website of the United States Department of Justice.