Four fundamental questions to answer when the lawyer responsible for a matter reviews an invoice

Bill approval is a pain in the neck. That said, if an inside lawyer wants to focus his or her attention, answer these four questions about a bill.

A. For the results and work accomplished during the month, do the fees seem reasonably related to the value delivered? This is the ultimate conclusion that only the responsible lawyer can assess. Everything else nickels and dimes at the edges (See my post of May 1, 2006: sometimes inside lawyers are not expert enough to assess value.).

B. Are there occasional billers – drive-by billers – whose contribution was not likely to be worth the fees (See my post of Jan. 21, 2008: exclude timekeepers with driblets of hours.)?

C. Did some lawyers spend too much time on tasks that they should have delegated (See my post of March 9, 2007: not enough use of paralegals by firms.)?

D. Do there seem to be too many instances of superfluous people at meetings or on conference calls?

If lawyers in charge would diligently attend to these four questions, and refuse to pay firms when invoices transgress, bills will drop significantly.

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