Lodestar, Amount, Method

A lodestar is a guiding star, typically the pole star, used for navigation. The term was used in the original dedication of this glossary when published by Dephion/Thomson in reference to Colm MacKernan’s wife, Eugenia.

The Lodestar Amount and Lodestar Method refers to an approach to calculating attorney’s fees often used where US legislation provides for an award of reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party, and involves the court starting by taking the number of hours reasonably spent by trial counsel on the matter and then multiplying by an hourly rate, sometimes derived from a Laffey Matrix – this established the “Lodestar Amount.”  The judge will then usually adjust the Lodestar Amount to take account of factors such as whether the case was on contingency fee (which might justify an upwards departure), the complexity of the matter and quality of the attorneys’ work, and sometime the duration of the case to arrive at a final fee award.

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