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Software general counsel should regret if it raises the amounts billed to them

An Economist article, July 24, 2010, at 72, steps into the world of law firms billing by the hour. The final paragraph suggests that law firms lose much of their worked time because of their “tired and overworked attorneys who cannot keep track of every piece of work they do.” Sob (See my post of July 12, 2010: significant imperfections in time logged by outside lawyers.). To the rescue – but to the alarm of legal departments – comes software from a firm called Chrometa.

Chrometa’s software “automatically tracks a lawyer’s computer usage, showing how much time she has spent on which e-mail, document or spreadsheet.” I have my doubts, if only because software tells me how long readers spend on my blog pages, and sometimes it is quite clear that they have gone to lunch while the page was left up on their monitor. And what if the overworked lawyer uses double monitors?