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.
A high profits per partner rank sends an important message to clients: “we’ve got margin to burn.” Continue reading
For the longest time only quantum physicists observing special relativity, and judges (see, e.g., Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §473) could enlarge time. Not to be left out of the fun, lawyers invented the “minimum billing increment”, i.e. the smallest unit of billable time to be charged for a work task. Continue reading
So we’ve been in the middle of some (finally) productive m&a activity in the last few months. Like daisies after a rainstorm, the dormant deal lawyers haven’t been far behind. And so are some of their maddening concepts of client service. Continue reading
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
Please don’t nag us to pay your December 10th invoices by year end. Continue reading
This is a popular one, especially among legal assistants:
“Attention to file. 1.0 hr”
You’re kidding, right? Is anybody reading these bills before they’re sent? As we’ve asked before, if you were the timekeeper who made this entry, would you pay this bill? (“Work on case” is a variation on this theme.)
Also, nothing looks more like padded time than round numbers. We’re not saying anyone should change their actual time entries, but pages full of “1.0 hr, 2.0 hrs, 3.0 hrs” etc. just looks suspicious, and sends us a message about the timekeeper’s credibility and the billing attorney’s management skills.
Timekeepers, please describe what work you did (this is why the entries are called time descriptions). Billing attorneys, please review the bills before you send them.