Is 1700 billable hours a year a lot?

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lacrossebrother
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Re: Is 1700 billable hours a year a lot?

Postby lacrossebrother » Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:23 am

Lol the cognitive dissonance thing is a joke right? We're a lit firm but do some corporate stuff for our lit clients to keep them out of trouble. Corporate work time still is kept but it's billed to general accounts, flat rate. They can see what they got to see if they value there. Your cog dissonance theory is insane given how common alternative fee arrangements are.

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orangered
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Re: Is 1700 billable hours a year a lot?

Postby orangered » Sat Jun 06, 2015 3:39 am

Desert Fox wrote:In fact firms have penalities to partners for cutting hours, but that is the whole problem. By penalizing the partner, that incentivizes the partner to make you cut your own hours so they are never on the books.


From a firm leadership perspective, you're damned either way. If you penalize the partner, as you mentioned, you encourage the associate to self cut. If you don't penalize the partner, that encourages partners to overwork associates for a given work product and then cut their hours. There are few things more frustrating than going over budget because the partner keeps changing what he wants over 3 or 4 iterations of reviews. Then again, I work in a very budget conscious practice area, so maybe that's not an issue in something like litigation.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Is 1700 billable hours a year a lot?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:39 am

An hours requirement will also be harder to hit if your clients are extremely cost conscious. There's the padding issue that's been discussed, but it's also a matter of expectation of quality to some extent. Based on partner/client expectations of quality, polish, comprehensiveness, etc, it might be acceptable to bill 20 hours at one firm and 50 hours at another for the same task. The latter makes it easier to hit an hours requirement because you're not jumping around from task to task.

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Desert Fox
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Postby Desert Fox » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:49 am

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lawschoolftw
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Re: Is 1700 billable hours a year a lot?

Postby lawschoolftw » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:04 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
lawschoolftw wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
lacrossebrother wrote:Do you guys literally run a clock when you work on shit? You don't just go back and reconstruct the day based on when you sent emails and ran searches?


different people do it the first way, others the second


I run a clock using a Google app that lets me run multiple stopwatches at once and label them. Admittedly, I often forget to stop or start one so I have to occasionally reconstruct stuff but it seems that attempting to reconstruct my day from memory based on email would be an incredibly inaccurate way to document my time.


If doing it from memory was unethical the ABA would say so right?


hah. Honestly, it's less of an "ethical" thing for me (although the that plays a role) and more of trying to be accurate. I think if I recomstructed my day from email I'm more likely to cut my time
Than I am to inflate it.

Also, w/r/t what to do when espn fb breaks, I usually don't stop the clock if I literaly just clicked over to fb to refresh my newsfeed and went back to it. If I go off on some fb tangent I generally just leave a note ton"subtract .2" from my total time.

smallfirmassociate
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Re: Is 1700 billable hours a year a lot?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:51 am

lacrossebrother wrote:Lol the cognitive dissonance thing is a joke right? We're a lit firm but do some corporate stuff for our lit clients to keep them out of trouble. Corporate work time still is kept but it's billed to general accounts, flat rate. They can see what they got to see if they value there. Your cog dissonance theory is insane given how common alternative fee arrangements are.


Nah, I stand by it. At least for the big picture. We're in a client-driven industry where the client sees (a) what service he got and (b) how much it cost him.

If you think partners aren't going over billings thinking, "Did we give this client good value," and adjusting a few things (or a lot of things) here and there accordingly, then I'm not sure what to tell you. It's bad business to give overpriced services, and "well, that's simply how many hours it took" isn't something clients really understand or care about.

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RedGiant
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Re: Is 1700 billable hours a year a lot?

Postby RedGiant » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:40 pm

Yes, that's low. I had to bill 1650 as a paralegal at firms! But "a lot" is really meaningless if the work isn't there. A target needs context. Find out if it's billable or realized, as others have mentioned, and whether there are "lull times" in your field such that hitting even 1700 would be difficult.




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