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(Some) Top Tricks to Reach Your Daily Quota as an Overworked Attorney

April 26, 2012
1.  Double Billing:  A favorite to keep your head above water.  While flying to a meeting in New York for one client, you summarize depositions for another client.  Counting time getting to and from airports, you can get a good 13 hours on this one – 8 hours of travel to Client 1 and 5 hours of depo review to Client 2.  Of course this is unethical, but catch me if you can.
  • Solution:  Don’t allow travel time at all, or allow at a greatly reduced rate.  That will incentivize your attorney to actually work on your case while flying.

2.  Conferencing:  Another fave, and if done with gusto, can really run up the tab – who needs the magic of compound interest when you can get 3 or more attorneys all discussing your case at the same time (and, of course, all the juicy office gossip).  Example:  Junior (at $200 per hour), Senior (at $350 per hour) and Named Partner (at $500 per hour) meet in NP’s office to discuss your case (and March Madness) for a half hour.  You just got billed $525 and Duke still lost.  Trust me, it is a grind at most firms and the attorneys wander the halls looking for these bill padders, uh, I mean strategy sessions.  You can easily spend 1500 bucks a day while your team of attorneys discusses the NFL Draft, best happy hours, and fights over who gets to attend your next status conference in New York Federal Court (see #1 above).

  • Solution:  Don’t allow conferencing, or at a minimum, only allow one of your horses to bill for these multi-person conferences.

3.  File Review:  Many attorneys will bill a file review on every file they touch.  So every time they pick up your file to do any actual work, they will add some time to the ubiquitous “reviewed file in preparation for…”  Just think how this can add up if you have Junior, Senior and that really expensive Named Partner all picking up your file after one of their water cooler conferences.

  • Solution:  While some file review may be necessary, this area is ripe for abuse and should be closely monitored and questioned.
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