clock time billable hour Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.gifTo follow-up on the Fried Frank post about prompt submission of one’s time, a reader sent in this suggestion:

You should start a thread re: billing practices. For example:

1. Do you bill when you go to the bathroom?

2. Do you bill when a co-worker stops and talks to you for five minutes?

3. Have you seen partners bill for time not spent on actual client matters? (I know I have.)

4. Perhaps more commonly, have you noticed specific ways in which partners manage to lengthen conversations, hold extra internal meetings, or get people involved who really aren’t necessary to get the job done?

I guess we’re talking about a very subtle form of “padding” here. It would be interesting to know what associates have noticed — far more interesting than law firm policies about turning your timesheets in…..

Good idea. So here’s an open thread for discussion of billing practices. The billable hour has been widely criticized, even by Biglaw partners like Scott Turow (who, to be sure, probably earns more from his writing than his legal practice). But as long as the billable hour is still with us, questions like the ones raised above must be confronted.
The bathroom break question is an interesting one. When we worked at a firm, we would stop the clock when we went to the bathroom (which was often, due to heavy consumption of coffee and bottled water). But recently we were chatting with a friend in Biglaw who doesn’t, and she regarded the idea of stopping the clock when you go to the bathroom as laughable.
The Billable Hour Must Die [ABA Journal]
Bye Bye to the Billable Hour? [Concurring Opinions]
Earlier: Fried Frank: Doing Hard Time

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