California - (Ass Mess): Debra Opri, former attorney to Larry Birlhead who is suing the Californian photographer for unpaid bills of around $500,000 may be seriously undercharging her one time client and undervaluing her services calculated at around $475 per hour.
Opri represented Birkhead during the early stages of his paternity battle for custody of daughter Dannielynn by former Playboy centerfold Anna Nicole Smith before getting dumped in a rancourous falling-out.
Whatever the complexities of the attorney-client relationship, Ms Opri has felt compelled to sue for the half million dollars she feels she is owed for services rendered.
A top-notch LA legal source said on TV today that he was not surprised that Birkhead had called Opri's bluff and ignored her demands for settlement.
"Any decent California lawyer charges at least $700 per hour, minimum. Industry standard rates.
"Selling yourself cheap is always trouble.
"I'd advise Opri to double the bill if she wants to be taken seriously.
"The law ain't never cheap. And even by California standards. $700 per hour is peanuts. Just look at what the big guys in NYC get - a minimum of $1,000 per hour. Same as London.
"Ya ever hear of a London attorney earning less than £500 per hour? Those guys don't get out of bed for less than what a supermodel is paid.
"Trust me on this one, Ms Opri.
"Ya don't wanna look like some skid-row accountant charging penny-pinchin' rates like $475.
"Double the hourly rate and squeeze his bollox.
"You'll get your money quicker that way."