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Research finds law firms not using paralegals

A recent Hildebrandt study, part of a consulting project, found that partner time accounted for about half of all hours, associate time accounted for slightly less, and paralegal time a smidgen. The research on invoices from about a dozen large U.S. law firms included Of Counsel lawyers in “partners” and included all non-lawyer timekeepers in “paralegals.”

The shock from this law firm data is their total lack of leverage. These law firms, sending in total over two million dollars worth of invoices to a multinational, generally have two associates or more per partner and yet here partner time was more than the associate time.

This lack of delegation to paralegals is disturbing, from a law department cost-management standpoint. At a time when many law departments are trying to boost their ratios of paralegals, it is shocking to see their absence at law firms.