Why law department lawyers loathe tracking their time

Inside counsel do not want to track their time, for many reasons. They do not want to have their performance based on how many hours they report, since competitive pressures and ethical distortions can inflate the hours written down. They do not want to rob lawyering time to jot down and enter time records, since they feel it is just pushing fake money around internally.

They want to be able to devote to a client’s legal problem the time it deserves, without feeling pushed to accelerate. They gain nothing personally from the resulting metrics, only the possible far off and diffuse advantages the department as a whole might accrue. They sense that huge qualitative differences exist between lawyers in terms of value delivered, differences obscured by a focus on churning out hours. They do not want to charge clients for their time, the next step in prospect, because they do not want clients to stop coming to them which over time will jeopardize their jobs.

For sizeable law departments, I do not agree with these views, as I stated in my post of August 31, 2005.

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