{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Let's be honest with each other: \n1. how much of your billed time gets cut and excluded from your hours at year-end, and \n2. how much padding do you do when you bill hours to try and capture this?", "post_id": "5dfd9413bab638001e9d6246", "reply_count": 8, "vote_count": 0, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }

Let's be honest with each other:
1. how much of your billed time gets cut and excluded from your hours at year-end, and
2. how much padding do you do when you bill hours to try and capture this?

Posting as :
works at
You are currently posting as works at

Please don’t pad your hours


Here’s a lawyer answer: it depends.

At my firm, last year I’ve had very few (probably 30ish) hours written off. This year, it’s closer to 100+. It depends so much on the type of project you’re on, and whether there’s a fee cap of sorts. There were instances of the negotiated proposal involving item A, then the project went on to cover out of scope items B, C and D - and the fee cap stayed the same because it was a huge client for the firm and the partners wouldn’t fight for it. Tough luck.

I don’t think padding time entries is ever a good idea. In addition to being unethical/illegal, if the time was going to be written off anyway, you’re only increasing the amount of time being written off.

Sometimes I think this is very unfair. No one ever writes off document review time (who’s gonna prove you didn’t spend 15 hours flipping pages?), but then the partner gets 3 hours off your bonus because he thought you took too long to prepare that incredibly complex draft. Sometimes this favors people that are not top performers but are also on lockstep (and thus are assigned less complex work such as doc review more often), which I don’t think is fair.


I'll go first!
1. I officially billed 2250 hours this year, but that's the number left over after 45-50 were cut. Our target is 1850.
2. I basically round up every single time entry by (0.2) or as much as I can get away with depending on the client...

Rounding up by 0.2 on every single time entry is unethical and grounds for state bar disciplinary action in most, if not all, states.


I don’t think it’s that typical across law firms to have 50 hours written off annually. For the two years I’ve known how many are written off it’s been less than 3 hours each year while billing 1800 and then 2100 commercial hours.

Padding is unethical and grounds for discipline, if not disbarment. As the judge I clerked for said to me the day she swore me in: you’re the only person who can take away your ticket to practice. Don’t do it.

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