Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives and has addressed national and local organizations on the topic of Social Security claims. This court finds that Uskokovic has made a sufficient showing that the maximum billing rate, or $ 107.25 per hour for work performed by Mr. Daley is not unreasonable.
Dorie Budlow, who works in private practice at Frederick J. Daley, Ltd., also participated in this case. Since entering private practice in 1986, her work has focused on Social Security disability claims. Like Mr. Daley, Ms. Budlow has demonstrated that she is an experienced practitioner in the field. Accordingly, the court finds that the maximum rate, $ 107.25, is a reasonable billing rate for Ms. Budlow's services.
In addition to the work performed by the two practicing attorneys, some of the research and writing was done by a third year law student, Ruta Stropus. Uskokovic requests that her work be reimbursed at a billing rate of $ 75 per hour. This court recognizes the benefits of employing the services of law students, particularly the cost savings inherent in the practice. See Missouri v. Jenkins, 491 U.S. 274, 109 S. Ct. 2463, 2471, 105 L. Ed. 2d 229 (1989). During the two and a half years she spent working as a law clerk for Frederick J. Daley, Ltd., Ms. Stropus had extensive exposure to Social Security disability claims and was involved in drafting numerous briefs. In light of that experience, this court finds a fee of $ 70 per hour to be reasonable.
The Secretary's final opposition to the claimant's fee request focuses on the total number of hours requested. Uskokovic concedes that the time log reflecting the hours spent on his case totals thirty-seven, not the thirty-nine hours requested; he attributes the difference to an arithmetical error, and requests the court to reduce the award accordingly. The Secretary suggests, however, that certain billing entries, for example those totalling three-quarters of an hour, for requests for extensions between October 1989 and January 1990 are unreasonable. Uskokovic responds that the Appeals Council requires such requests to be in writing, and that these requests were necessary to keep the record open for the psychological report from Dr. Reich. This court does not find that billing for this time is unreasonable, particularly given the need for a psychologist's analysis of the history of Uskokovic's mental disorder.
This court also rejects the Secretary's contention that certain billing entries for telephone calls to Uskokovic are unreasonable. In the months leading up to the administrative hearing, it is understandable that an attorney and his client would be in constant contact with one another, and this court has no reason to question the attorney's judgment regarding the economic efficiency of telephone conversations rather than a conference. Having reviewed the time log submitted by Uskokovic's attorney, this court finds that the administrative time logs reflecting seventy hours of attorney time are not unreasonable.
Finally, attached to Uskokovic's reply to the secretary's opposition to his fee petition is another time log, seeking reimbursement for fifteen hours of law clerk time and one and a half hours of attorney time for the preparation of the reply brief. In Commissioner, INS v. Jean, 496 U.S. 154, 110 S. Ct. 2316, 110 L. Ed. 2d 134 (1990), the Supreme Court held that a claimant under the EAJA need not make a separate showing that the Secretary was not substantially justified in opposing the fee petition. Therefore, the court will review this time log according to the same standards of reasonableness granted the other billing requests.
The law clerk who was responsible for drafting the reply brief, Carla Dobrovits, had worked for Frederick J. Daley, Ltd. for slightly more than two years at the time of her involvement in this case. She has had significant exposure to Social Security cases during that period. Uskokovic has requested reimbursement at the rate of $ 50 per hour of Ms. Dobrovits' time. The court finds that request reasonable. Moreover, the court finds the fifteen hours Ms. Dobrovits spent on the issues involved, plus the one and a half hours of attorney time spent reviewing her work to be reasonable.
As set forth in the foregoing analysis, this court finds that Uskokovic is the prevailing party in this action and that the Secretary was not substantially justified in his opposition to Uskokovic's disability claim. Furthermore, the court finds that the following billing rates for the following hours logged by each attorney are not unreasonable:
(1) Frederick J. Daley: 55.25 hours at $ 107.25
(2) Dorie Budlow: 11.75 hours at $ 107.25
(3) Ruta K. Stropus: 4.5 hours at $ 70.00
(4) Carla T. Dobrovits: 15 hours at $ 50.00
Accordingly, the Secretary shall pay directly to Uskokovic's attorney attorneys' fees in the amount of $ 8250.75. The Secretary shall also pay to Uskokovic's attorney costs in the amount of $ 1050.00, for a total award of $ 9300.75. Counsel is ordered to reimburse Uskokovic for any fees or costs already transmitted to him.