After much thought, our firm has created the following policies. We do not charge for travel time within the San Francisco Bay Area until we arrive at the locale of the meeting or conference. For travel time outside the San Francisco Bay Area we charge at half rate for the travel time unless the client consents to pay for travel by business class and if that is the case, the attorney does not charge for travel time unless working on the client matter during the travel. (The reason is simple: the attorney, with a laptop, can continue working on various matters while traveling on business class but economy class does not have room for such equipment on most airlines.) Further, any accommodations that the attorney uses should have high speed internet access if available, again so that the attorney can work on multiple matters even while traveling. We have found that clients save money by use of this policy and that the attorney can service other clients even during the longest trips. Most clients are relieved to know that their particular counsel will almost always be available by e mail even if traveling abroad.
Most retainer clients have special methods for payment for travel by our legal personnel, including flat rates for a certain number of trips per year.