Friday, March 25, 2011

Davey Numberlady's Top Ten Billable Hours Entries Your Client Does Not Want to See

Davey Numberlady is a regular SCOV Law column dedicated to cataloging the small bits of trivia that populate the practice of law.  Today's list focuses on that bane of private practice, the Billable Hour.  Each day, attorneys strive to fill their working days with productivity that can be billed to the client in discrete, easily summarized intervals.  This work is then invoiced to the client who after overcoming the shock of it, is usually grateful for the work that has been done on their behalf.  At the other end, attorneys are constantly second-guessing themselves as to what is and is not billable. "Did that phone call really advance the client's case or did I talk too long with Attorney X about my last vacation?"  As a helpful guide, Davey has drafted the following billable hour entries that are likely to fail either test.  Please add your own in the comment section.

1. "Researched past episodes of CSI: Miami for deposition questions: 6.5 hours"

2. "Victory dance choreography and performance following review of summary judgment order: 1.6 hours"

3. "Called home; talked to mom about theory of case; thinks I am right no matter what that nasty judge has ruled; will be there for dinner, Sunday: 1.25 hours"

4. "Conference call re whether to bill client for conference call re whether to bill client for lunch discussion: .7 hours"

5. "Interviewed witnesses, ladies at the Three Penny Taproom: approx. 7 hours"

6. "Watched videos on YouTube of cats/sweaty men brawling: 3.5 hours"

7. "Filled notebook with Mrs. Associate Justice John A. Dooley signatures and doodles: 1.5 hours"

8. "Belittled opposing counsel via anonymous comments on Burlington Free Press website: 2.3 hours"

9. "Reviewed Doors lyrics for pithy opening hook for appellate argument: 3.0 hours"

10. "Read SCOV Law case summaries and copied them into brief without further inquiry: 4.0 hours"

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