First year associate - Second week in Insurance Defense - I am set to bill 40 hours to prepare a single motion for summary judgment. Did I take too long?

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It will probably get appealed (even if you win) but that’s just the nature of of the job. When they ask for work product at least you have substantive docs to show. Don’t worry about it, carriers appeal all big charges. The real sign of approval is repeat businesses.

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Thanks!

FYI I was always told and have heard for your first MSJ expect to spend a huge amount of time working on it... it’s the first one don’t worry about it

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My first one was brutal. I feel like it is a right of passage. One of the hardest pleadings to draft. 40 hours seems reasonable. Don’t sweat it

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Can really be issue and jx dependent. In my state, 40 would be light.

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Real estate mal practice with 5 causes of action and a very poorly/purposefully badly written complaint that has two full pages of factual allegations that don't say which fact supports which cause of action.

I think it really depends on the type of case. During my brief stint in ID I did slips and falls and MVAs. For those types of cases, generally speaking, 40 hours for an MSJ would be quite high and I doubt the carrier would authorize it. I’d be lucky to get 20 hours max. I remember once billing 6 hours for a 12 page reply for our motion to dismiss. The partner laughed at me and said there was no way the carrier would authorize 6 hours for a reply—regardless of the length or complexity of the issues.

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Bill every second that you work. Don’t purposely delay so you can bill, but it’s the partner’s job to cut time and manage workload, not yours. Do the task assigned, do it well, and accurately record your time.
If you’re taking to long, then your partner will correct. If they don’t, keep doing what you’re doing.

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Ehh probably not. It's borderline, but if that's the amount of time you spent, that's what you should bill.

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Depends. We’d usually budget 20-25 hours and the carrier would still nickle and dime us. You’re partner should have given you a time frame, considering you’re probably not interacting with the carrier yet.

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Do associates normally communicate with carriers regarding budget? How does that look like? Do carriers state the amount of hours/money they plan on authorizing beforehand?

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Don’t quote me but approx one hour per page is more reasonable, including research. 40 hours seems about 20 hours too many, but you’re new so it’s to be expected.

Your boss should review and revise your time entries with you for a while. That’s how you learn. If you’re comfortable with another associate, ask them to print a month’s worth of time entries for you to get a feel for billing. There’s an art to it.

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It is not unusual for me (ID, complex lit) to spend 35-40 hours on an MSJ, assuming there’s no template/sample and the motion requires case specific legal research.

Each time you draft another, on the same general topic, the process will shorten.

Definitely check with the partner to make sure your time doesn’t get written off. That’s the worst.

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Recommendation for those who haven’t heard of this:

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