Maximum hours acceptable to bill per month: Altria’s 200

For the head of litigation of Altria, Bill Ohlemeyer (Corp. Counsel, Vol. 12, Nov. 2005 at 93), no one may bill more than 10 hours a day to his company for every business day of a typical month. Stated more precisely, his immutable rule stops the clock at 200 hours in a month, “trials excepted.” (See my post of May 20, 2005 on spending soaring just before and during trial.)

Admittedly, I push for limiting the team that works on a department’s matters, but there is just no way a human can be cost effective and deliver good value for 200 hours in a month. Even this cut off number, which can only be enforced effectively by electronic bill analysis, sets the bar too high.

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