Think about this question: Are your outside lawyers more effective when they work for reasonably long periods of time on your matters? That is to say, is it better to have four hours billed on one day than one hour billed on each of four consecutive days?
Obviously, no flat answer is expected to this question, but the notion makes intuitive sense to me that people who immerse themselves in a problem and think about it for a concentrated period of time will produce better work than scatter-shot, start-end-stop work.
We already recognize that drive-by billers, who only spend 15 minutes or so on a matter, often charge useless time. Some also think that those who bill more than eight hours a day on a matter can hardly be as effective in the final hour or two (See my post of Nov. 8, 2005 about Altria and its 200-hour maximum in a month.). Electronic billing software can track patterns of law firms on both these practices. In short, concentrated, somewhat lengthy periods of time in between the extremes may represent the best return for a law department.