How much does it cost to take your case all the way to the US Supreme Court?

If you’re the video game industry successfully suing the state of California to challenge the constitutionality of its law prohibiting minors from buying violent video games, the answer is about $1.15 million. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the attorneys at Jenner & Block, who represented the video game industry in Brown v. Entertainment Merchant’s Ass’n, asked the high court recently to order the state of California to pay those legal fees.

Among the goodies in this cost bill was $18,760 for the lawyers to work on the first practice argument, $21,928.75 for the second practice argument, and $12,698.75 for the third practice argument.The lead partner on the case billed a cool $250,000 for his time alone.

Oh, and also $2,725 for a junior partner to attend the oral argument and have lunch with the client afterward.

Ouch for the state of California and its taxpayers. It sounds to me like at this point this is simply a request by the winning party, and I’m assuming the state’s lawyers will be vigorously objecting to some of these items.

I’m equal parts appalled and in awe. I have enough trouble feeling bad about the hourly rate I charge for my time on the few hourly cases I have — I can’t even imagine what I’d feel like if I was billing out at the partner’s hourly rate, which has to be at least $600 per hour. Who’s worth that?



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