Firm Lowered My Hours Billed

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Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Firm Lowered My Hours Billed

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 2:47 am

I was going through my hours billed last month and noticed that I was missing a few hours (5-10). I thought it was strange. I had finalized my time and stuff. And my overall numbers were where I remember them being.i thought maybe I was being crazy and just let it go for a minute.

I then checked my monthly billable report for March and I noticed that 5-10 hours vanished.

Has this happened to anyone? No one confronted me about this. This is different than partners writing off time, which is recorded.

I honestly think a partner I work for “erased” some of my billable hours so they didn’t have to do it as a write-off (which I know partners have to sometimes justify, especially now).

I just think it’s unethical to do this. Also, my bonus is based on hours billed and now I’m 10 hours behind where I should actually be through no fault my own.

Anonymous User
Posts: 350995
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Firm Lowered My Hours Billed

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 8:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was going through my hours billed last month and noticed that I was missing a few hours (5-10). I thought it was strange. I had finalized my time and stuff. And my overall numbers were where I remember them being.i thought maybe I was being crazy and just let it go for a minute.

I then checked my monthly billable report for March and I noticed that 5-10 hours vanished.

Has this happened to anyone? No one confronted me about this. This is different than partners writing off time, which is recorded.

I honestly think a partner I work for “erased” some of my billable hours so they didn’t have to do it as a write-off (which I know partners have to sometimes justify, especially now).

I just think it’s unethical to do this. Also, my bonus is based on hours billed and now I’m 10 hours behind where I should actually be through no fault my own.
I don't have much insight into the behind the scenes mechanics or considerations that go into this happening, but it does happen. The instance in which I've encountered it is retroactive changes to billing codes, where a sub-classification of some type of work on a matter was reclassified, deleted, or the date at which the code was valid in the system moved after the fact and all the associated hours in the system were affected. A senior lost enough hours that it actually impacted his bonus eligibility and he made an official thing of it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 350995
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Firm Lowered My Hours Billed

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 9:02 am

OP here.

I checked my hours and a partner changed those hours to biz dev. Not sure why they weren’t just written off when the research was specifically for a question the client asked. I’m obviously not going to bring this up unless it affects me at the end of the year, but I’m going to be carefully monitoring my billable hours from now on.

Anonymous User
Posts: 350995
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Firm Lowered My Hours Billed

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 9:22 am

This happened to me as a 2nd year and I was freaking out until I talked to my staffing manager. At my firm each junior can bill 25 hours of public company work to a certain matter number, I guess a partner realized I hadn’t used any and just moved it to that. Still got credit for it. Double check your firm policies.

Anonymous User
Posts: 350995
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Firm Lowered My Hours Billed

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 11:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:This happened to me as a 2nd year and I was freaking out until I talked to my staffing manager. At my firm each junior can bill 25 hours of public company work to a certain matter number, I guess a partner realized I hadn’t used any and just moved it to that. Still got credit for it. Double check your firm policies.
OP here. We don’t have that kind of policy. We have certain matter numbers that still count towards billable hours. The matter # my hours were moved to does not count as billable. I was never told when I was doing the work that this was biz dev/non-billable, so it’s really annoying. And, it’s not like we didn’t advise the client on this question (I was there when we discussed this issue with the client).

Does anyone know what partner policies generally are about time write-offs? I’m wondering if the partner adjusted my time instead of doing a write off so that impacts me and not them.

Anonymous User
Posts: 350995
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Firm Lowered My Hours Billed

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 5:20 pm

At my prior firm (lower Amlaw100) a billing partner would definitely prefer that an associate not bill time that will ultimately be written off by the billing partner because it hurts the profitability metrics of the client matter. I.e. attorney time is recorded to the matter but is ultimately not billed and collected. Hugely wasteful of firm resources and makes partner look bad for having a cheap, not so profitable client / matter.

Now OTOH if the associate does the work and just records the time as generic biz development or training or some shit then it just looks like its something the associate is doing on their own time to generally build a client relationship. It looks like the associate is going above and beyond - but hey the associate better still hit their billable hours! This looks better for the billing partner than the billing partner wasting an associate's time to do billable work for a specific client matter that s/he knows the client will ultimately bitch about paying for. It's a win-win for billing partner: they keep the client happy and they hide the fact that they are using associate time in an unprofitable manner.

When I was a jr associate I had partners who would ask me to record time that would be clearly billable to non-billable time like training/ biz development. But at least they were open about it and didn't do it without telling me. It still pissed me off because it didn't count towards my billable hours requirement so I tried to avoid working for those types of partners.

I would not trust a partner that did this behind my back. But that's just me.

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