Some law departments set guidelines for how many timekeepers they will permit to charge time to their matters. They want a core staff to account for most of the billings. De jure, the firm has to get permission to add more. De facto this requirement breaks down under pressure.
This cost- and quality-control method works much better when the services needed aren’t time sensitive. For example, not during the lathered gallop just before trial – more like the gentle canter of patent prep and prosecution or domain name conflicts. There is a difference between drive-by billers and crisis calls for all hands on deck.