I’ve been a lurker for a little while, and I finally have a good reason to post, at least so i think. For those of you that bill, do you have any tips for a lawyer that has never had to do it before? I recently accepted a position at a defense firm with an 1800 billable requirement, and while i’m not worried about working the hours, i am nervous about tracking everything and making sure i am not overbilling. Are there any recommendations to give me a little confidence as i embark on this new endeavor? I’d love to be able to describe the work i’ve done well and maximize the amount of work i can do in a given day.
I worked at an insurance defense firm right out of law school and I still hate the billable hour because of it! A big thing was learning how to describe the time you spent - we had a number of different carriers as clients and they usually had guidelines about what could and could not be billed. Often times I would ask a more senior attorney for their old timesheets to see how to bill certain things (drafting discovery requests, preparing motions, reviewing and analyzing medical records, etc.). A big thing is to never cut your own time. Record the exact time it took you to finish each task - the partners should be the ones who cut your time if needed. Also, take advantage of those .1s for emails your receive and send! They add up quick.