Category Archives: Outside Counsel

Eliminate Billable Hours from Performance Evaluations

We missed this announcement from Jackson Lewis (a large national employment law firm) in November, 2014, stating that an associate’s billable hours will no longer be taken into account in his or her performance evaluations. We applaud this decision, and hope to see this factor removed from partner-level evaluations (read: profit participation determinations) as well.

Individuals in any organization ought to be evaluated on the basis of accomplishments, not time spent. Is this harder to do? Of course.

How should accomplishments be evaluated? Hint: ask your customers who receive the service and are in the best position to evaluate its worth.

We’ll answer. We promise.

Pushing risk across the table

We came across this excellent post by Patrick J. Lamb at In Search of Perfect Client Service awhile ago, and recently passed it on to colleagues whose outside counsel are doing the “alternative fee shuffle”.  We’re all kidding ourselves when we define “alternative fees” as “anything that’s not straight hourly rates.”  As Patrick says: Continue reading

Your R&D is not my capital investment … it’s yours.

So last weekend, on a quiet nondescript morning, coffee freshly poured I thought, “No finer time than right now to review some law firm invoices.”  Ok, I didn’t really think that, but since this past week was going to be highly unproductive (it didn’t disappoint) it was time to get the mundane out of the way.

I pulled the first one off the stack.  The General Matters invoice.  There was only one entry:

“Review recent court decisions concerning intellectual property rights.  0.6 hrs.”

The expense statement was even better.

“LEXIS/NEXIS case searches for recent court decisions concerning intellectual property rights . . . . . $467.00”

Now all this would be perfectly acceptable if we had actually engaged the firm to do some research.  But we hadn’t.  Hmmm… this was probably just another time entry foul-up (expense charge too — same day, probably automated).  No big deal.  We’ll just call and have it fixed. Continue reading