{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Has anyone heard a firm-wide policy that ALL time spent billing is to be self-written off by associates and is not bonus eligible? Have heard from a friend that a firm I am considering lateraling to has such a policy. Red flag?", "post_id": "60fedc7fcfabc500240395ef", "reply_count": 21, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law" }

Has anyone heard a firm-wide policy that ALL time spent billing is to be self-written off by associates and is not bonus eligible? Have heard from a friend that a firm I am considering lateraling to has such a policy. Red flag?

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Wtf does that mean? Are they saying you can’t bill for the time you spend actually entering your time? That sounds normal to me…

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You're billing for time spent billing? Do you bill the time you spend billing the time you spend billing?

likefunny

You should never bill clients for entering time. I've worked at five biglaw firms and not one would have permitted billing for admin tasks such as entering time to be billed to a client. No client wants to pay an associate rate for that! I pay for your legal work.

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To clarify, I do not mean entering narratives (obviously this is general admin which should not even be recorded) but time spent by the billing associate cleaning others’ narratives and producing weekly WIP updates (which can be several hours a week on busy matters).

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Also if you can then try to get a junior or trainee to help and you can check it after - if they’re decent then it should save you a lot of time. Obviously be clear to them that it’s non billable.

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Maybe the red flag is that the have this policy, even though it seems like a common sense practice that wouldn’t need to be written down?

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At our firm all time relating to billing administration (including entering time and reviewing bills) is non-billable time. Personally I put down entering time as “general admin” (on the firms general admin file, and not on the matter). I put down reviewing bills/narratives as “non-billable” (on the matter) which flags to the partner that this time must be written off. In our jurisdiction, you legally cannot charge clients for this sort of work.

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Agree with SA2 and A3. The underlying reason for this problem is that billing mixes up two distinct business functions: revenue generation and measurement of costs. On the one hand, firms want to invoice clients for hours spent by the workforce doing tasks for their matters. On the other hand, hours are used as a yardstick for measuring how much resources are expended to service the client. On top of that - and this is where we have a huge discrepancy between associates’ and firma’ interests - hours are used to gauge performance of the workforce. Thus: 1/ as a revenue generator, hours should be maximized, but at the same time firms can’t expect clients to pay for some hours that are used for „non-essential” (admin) tasks; 2/ as a cost measure, hours should be as accurate as possible to allow the firm to realistically assess its efficiency and profitability of matters; 3/ as a performance gauge, for associates (billable) hours should be maximized for bonuses, but for partners - not necessarily, eapecially if clients are not willing to pay for them.

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