Billable hour requirements at firms ought to raise hackles on in-house counsels’ necks

Nothing good for general counsel can come from retained firms that set billable hour minimums (See my post of Nov. 8, 2005: Altria and its 200-hour monthly maximum; Oct. 20, 2005: ask for total hours billed in a month by key lawyers; June 22, 2008: in the office 60 hours to bill 40; Aug. 22, 2006: law firms that impose billable hour requirements; Oct. 25, 2007: abusive billing across multiple matters; Dec. 14, 2008: three tiers of billable hours; and April 26, 2006: pick busy lawyers if you want efficiency.).

At the least, know which of your firms set billing bars for their lawyers. Further, if possible test whether the number of hours recorded by firms on similar matters differ statistically according to whether the firms set bars or don’t.

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