Guess how much it (currently) costs to be admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California? $305.00.
Guess how much it currently costs to be admitted to practice pro hac vice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California? $305.00.
When you prevail in a civil case, guess which of these costs (if any) are part of recoverable costs?
Only the first one. Being admitted to practice forever.
Which makes absolutely no sense. Particularly when the need for the second one actually arises solely from the case at hand, and benefits no future clients, whereas the need for the first one -- the one where the Ninth Circuit lets you get your money back from the other side -- both arises more generally and benefits all of the attorney's clients throughout his or her career.
But according to the Ninth Circuit, that's what the statute says. A couple of other circuits have held otherwise, so now there's a circuit split. But c'est la vie. Good luck getting the Supreme Court interested in stepping in to resolve a circuit split that purely involves an issue of statutory interpretation and is over around a couple of hundred dollars or so.