“To this day, we are surprised at how many lawyers delegate the coding of their time entirely to their administrative assistants without any attempt to ensure that the resulting output is accurate or useful.” These are the plaintive words of General Electric’s Brackett Denniston and Alex Dimitrief.who updated Bob Haig’s Successful Partnering chapter 14 on billing. Shocking, yes?
No, and let’s be blunt. If in-house lawyers who purport to review bills never slap the wrist of such careless lawyers, or lawyers who write their time entries but make little effort to provide useful information, the sloppy practices will continue. Why bother to detail what was done or the benefit of it if you are not paid to do so and if dereliction has no consequences?
Besides, if the reviewer of a bill spends much time at the level of individual time entries, and doesn’t attend mostly to the overall accomplishments in light of fees, the in-house lawyer is wasting time.