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Ask the partner who bills you to include on the bill time written off

An admonition in a column of Corp. Counsel, Vol. 15, May 2008 at 72, caught my eye. “Tell your outside providers to get in the habit of analyzing and vetting bills before sending them to you.” Well, yes, of course. Isn’t that bit of advice on a par with “Tell your law firms not to over-bill you?”

Setting aside that snide shot, how would you know that a partner has reviewed the pre-bill unless their bills indicate time written off because it was inefficiently spent? Billing partners always claimed that they scrub their bills, but how many of them state on their invoice the time written off by them?

Ask partners to show specifically what they have written off. You can learn how they assess their own bills and what they think is lower value effort. Or you might find that the firm bills you whatever timekeepers record.