During the last ten years billing fraud by lawyers has been recognized as a serious problem that undermines clients' trust of lawyers and the reputation of the profession as a whole. It used to be thought that lawyers who wanted to steal their clients' money would just take money out of the trust account. In recent years it has become clear that dishonest lawyers' methods of misappropriation are far more diverse than that.
The focus of this paper is on billing misconduct by lawyers who contract with their clients to bill by the hour. I will not talk about lawyers who borrow from their trust accounts or manipulate contingent fees.
Lisa G. Lerman, Regulation of Unethical Billing Practices: Progress and Prospects, 1998 PROF. LAW. 90.