honest billing?

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Anonymous User
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honest billing?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:15 pm

Newbie here. I was talking to my co-workers and it seems like they all fudge their numbers. For example, they work 5 good hours but somehow stretch it out in a plausible way 8 hours. It's not that they were browsing the web for 3 hours. It's just that they were taking their sweet time to do something in 8 when it could take them 5. Is this pretty much the norm? I spent like 2 days on a research assignment and couldn't muster up the courage to bill 16 hours. "Researched x in the context of y for the purpose of z.... 18 hours" sounds ridiculous but the research q was so strangely narrow and unique. Partner knew I was still working on it. But I'm also told not to self-regulate hours because I'm supposed to just bill what I billed and let the partner take care of cutting hours. What do?

J. Unfriendly

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Re: honest billing?

Postby J. Unfriendly » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:26 pm

Bill the amount of time you actually spend on the project. It's not your job to decide if you spent too much or too little time on something.


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Re: honest billing?

Postby Nebby » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:28 pm

If something takes you 8 hours and you actually spent 8 hours then bill 8 hours. Don't undercut yourself because you think you could have been more efficient. Don't fudge numbers when you were not actually working 8 hours, either.

ETA scooped

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Re: honest billing?

Postby 2014 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:31 pm

J. Unfriendly wrote:Bill the amount of time you actually spend on the project. It's not your job to decide if you spent too much or too little time on something.


Plus it almost always saves the client money to have you take another proofreading pass through whatever you have done instead of having someone who bills at 2x your rate catch your errors, decide they don't trust your work and spend more time combing through it, then have you fix the errors anyway (not to mention you then look bad). I don't know anyone sadistic enough to take 60% more time to type or whatever just for the sake of billing more.


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Re: honest billing?

Postby mvp99 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:36 pm

partners and GC know what something is worth... they will adjust accordingly

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Re: honest billing?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:21 pm

Underbilling is one of those weird things a lot of juniors do. It's completely unethical to "fudge" your numbers and overbill. It's completely idiotic to work against yourself and underbill. You have billing targets to meet; why in the world would you work against yourself? You're a junior. You don't know much at all. That's okay.


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Re: honest billing?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:50 pm

No it's not okay to work slowly and take 8 hours to do something that should take you 5 hours. Work hard and bill all of the time you work. Do not underbill or overbill.

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Re: honest billing?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:23 pm

As a junior, your instinct will be to finish the work as quickly and efficiently as possible, because you think that all the partners and seniors will notice if you are taking too long to do something, will be pissed they have to write down the bill or think you are stupid and not want to work with you. You may also think the assignments are boring and rush through because you think will advance to more interesting work. Don't fall into this trap.

The happiest seniors I know are people that do a "thorough" job. That doesn't mean billing 8 hours for something that should take 5 hours, because every project can take, legitimately, a range of time depending on how much you want to put into it. But this does give them more control over their schedule, so that they bill 8 hours (a full day) where other associates would bill only 4 hrs (and thus have to take on double the work.)

This is how you last 6-8 years at a biglaw firm. Not burning yourself out by constantly being besieged by multiple assignments.


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Re: honest billing?

Postby shock259 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:46 pm

Take your time, do it right the first time, and don't worry how much time you are billing to something. That's way more important than your "efficiency". Someone will tell you if you are billing 3x more than necessary on every assignment.

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