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Eyes rolling at $200 an hour charged for a paralegal, but blind to practicality

At a conference recently, an attendee lambasted a law firm that has the temerity to charge a paralegal out at $200 an hour. $200 an hour for a paralegal!?

To couple “paralegal” and “$200” into ludicrous is wrong-headed. If the paralegal delivers value for what they do each hour, no one should care about their title, credentials, or education. Sometimes the absence of credentials betrays limited opportunities in the past, such as money to pay for law school or discrimination. Brains, ability, and productivity are all that should determine whether someone delivers value commensurate with their cost (See my post of Sept. 21, 2008: why not allow experienced in-house lawyers to hire non-attorneys for legal services.).

Fifth-year associates who bill $200 an hour – yes, they exist outside BigLaw – may be an extravagant waste of time if they know little about the law and take too long to accomplish tasks, some of which might not even advance the cause.

Let’s scrap educational elitism. Let’s look at services provided for costs charged.