April 17, 2009

No wonder lawyers drive people crazy

And themselves, occasionally.

Marquette law professor Andrea Schneider posts a lighthearted "Ten Commandments (of Billing)" and asks if there are more Commandments anybody can think of. Even I thought of one.

Then a bunch of lawyers turn up and start to wondering: Where they're contractually obligated (presumably — they don't say) to bill in 15-minute increments and spend 25 minutes (.41666667 hours) working on a case, what to do?

Do you round down to .25 hours or up to .5 hours? (Granted, the difference is a hundred bucks if you're blessed enough to be charging $400/hr. It's bus fare and a 10 oz. jar of Gia Russa Sweet Peppers Bruschetta Topping* when you're charging 40.00.)

But, seriously. Round it down and get on with your life. Y'all just burned three whole Benjamins agonizing over it.

Rounding it up means you're billing for more time than you've expended, and you can't just go and do that without the client's permission. If you want to maintain a clear conscience, at least.

Or else take an hour to draft a letter containing an amendment to the billing increments provision of the contract and charge that $400 to the client as well. There you go, done deal. Problem solved.

I could tell some tales about my billings when I was a construction manager — e.g., charging a secretary out as an electrician superintendent — but I don't think the statute of limitations has run.

* That's good stuff, by the way. Get it at the Metrosexual Mart.


Anonymous said...

That's why you bill in 6 minute increments!

illusory tenant said...


Andrew Golden said...

I don't know about the others, but I just wanted to make sure the rest of the readers knew you shouldn't have sex with your client and then bill them for it. I considered that to be an important lesson from my Law Governing Lawyers class!

illusory tenant said...

This is true. Rather, one should wait a suitable interval before billing them for it.