Do you deduct time from your billing sheet for bathroom breaks? And other billable-hour mysteries

by Valorem Law Group LLC
Contact

Some random questions about the billable hour:

1) When people record their time days or weeks after the work was done, do you ever wonder about the accuracy of the entries? They should be accurate. They are made to appear accurate—measured in tenths of an hour. But do people remember to deduct for bathroom breaks? For calls from friends? Checking Facebook? Another lawyer sticking their head in to talk about the big game?

2) Some people work quickly and some work slowly. I am reminded of the grits scene in My Cousin Vinny where Joe Pesci's Vinny asks: “So, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you five minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit-eating world 20 minutes?” Do clients get to choose the fast worker to get lower bills?

3) Do you ever have days when your mind is somewhere else? Do you adjust your hourly rate for those days?

4) Do you ever have moments of true inspiration in which you come up with an idea that will save your client a substantial amount? Do you feel slighted that you only got to bill .2 for that moment of inspiration?

5) As a billing partner, when you get the pre-bills for your matters, aren’t you secretly excited when the fee amount is higher than you were expecting?

6) How many times has a client told you she was surprised by the amount of an invoice?

7) Have you ever been upset that the lawyer on the other side is going to be paid as much (or more) than you, even though you just won?

8) Do you ever justify (to yourself) upward rounding on your time sheets because your client is a big corporation that would never notice?

9) Do you ever ask an associate to check the law in yet another state even though that other state’s laws don’t apply?

10) As a client, have you ever wondered how much it cost you to chat with your lawyer when most of the call was spent talking about your last golf outing? Do you wonder if your outside lawyer gave it a second thought before billing for the entire call?

11) Why does the passage into a new year justify a rate increase? Is it like passing "go" in Monopoly and collecting $200?

12) Did you ever feel like you were actually worth more when your hourly rate was raised?

13) Have you ever increased the expected hours on a budget just so you had wiggle room?

14) Have you ever decreased the expected hours on a budget because the issue didn’t justify so many hours?

15) How much time, money and energy is devoted to reviewing the invoices of “trusted counsel” to make sure you (the client) can actually trust them?

Just asking. But it sure seems like there ought to be a way to do things where these questions wouldn’t arise.


This article [material] is reprinted with the permission of ABAJournal.com

Patrick Lamb is a founding member of Valorem Law Group, a litigation firm representing business interests. Valorem helps clients solve their business disputes and coping with pressures to reduce legal spend using nontraditional approaches, including use of nonhourly fee structures, coordination with LPOs or contract lawyers, joint-venturing with other firms and implementation of project management tools to handle lawsuits or portfolios of litigation.

Pat is the author of the the book Alternative Fee Arrangements: Value Fees and the Changing Legal Market. He also blogs at In Search Of Perfect Client Service.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Valorem Law Group LLC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Valorem Law Group LLC
Contact
more
less

Valorem Law Group LLC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.