{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I just started doing insurance defense 3 months ago. A few of my billing entries have been cut. I feel very bad. Does anybody have any tips for writing better time entries?", "post_id": "6059f98b361e150022abd52b", "reply_count": 13, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5de7247f5ea93e002425c084", "bowl_name": "Insurance Litigation" }

I just started doing insurance defense 3 months ago. A few of my billing entries have been cut. I feel very bad. Does anybody have any tips for writing better time entries?

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Feel free to DM for specifics. Been doing it almost 5 years now. Don’t feel bad, the robots will continue cutting your time for as long as you’re doing ID, appeals are natural.

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It’s a cat and mouse game that even the most experienced attorneys get caught up in. If it’s legitimate time, find a way to bill it another way. What was cut? Cut by a partner or cut by a client?

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In your entries include who the communication was to/from and substantively why it required a lawyer (and not a paralegal) to perform. That’s the key to avoiding carrier reductions. For example, a paralegal cannot determine what information is privileged in a disclosure or develop a strategy for defense. There are things that attorneys are required to do ethically and if a paralegal had done it it would’ve been the unauthorized practice of law. That’s what needs to be conveyed in the entry. When preparing your entries think like an outside vendor bill cutter who gets paid a commission just to cut your entries. Ie if there’s anyway they can argue that task could’ve been done by a paralegal they will. Make sure your entry it’s clear enough to avoid that. Hope that helps. 

Ask your supervisor to review his/her billing entries. Reviewing other people’s entries will be helpful. Don’t feel bad- learning how to bill and how to phrase your entry is an integral part of ID and it takes time. That said, your supervisor isn’t doing a good job if he/she is not providing feedback when cutting your entries.

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First, don’t sweat it. Insurance companies audit their legal bills to death and even partners get their time cut. I just started at a new firm in January, doing insurance coverage and defense, and a couple weeks ago found out that my very first substantive entry was cut from 9.2 hours down to 2.0. We appealed and I’ve since learned better timekeeping practices for insurance clients, but I definitely understand feeling bad about it. In terms of practical tips: write entries for the substantive work you’re doing in the basic format of “specific activity—purpose of that specific activity—how that translates into deliverable or value to the client.” Something like, “research case law regarding whether X constitutes ‘direct physical loss or damage’ in [state] to asses insured’s claim for X in preparation for drafting coverage opinion.” Communication entries are tricky. Oftentimes insurers only pay for the most senior biller’s entry for emails and conference calls, even with the client on the call, so generally, you want to roll that time into the substantive entry.

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All the advice you’ve already been given is spot on, OP. I’m just piggy-backing off A2 to add that whenever you draft a billing entry for correspondence (like drafting a letter to a client - this doesn’t *really* apply for emails), if you need to bill more than a .1, write your billing entry as follows: “DRAFT MULTIPAGE CORRESPONDENCE TO X REGARDING Y” from there, you can add more detail as to whether the letter was necessary in preparation for a next step, or for continued analysis and investigation of the claim, etc. Long story short, “multipage” will typically get you past the billing bottom-feeders for longer correspondence-type entries.

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