A study done in 2005 determined how many law firms required its lawyers to bill a minimum of 2,000 hours per year. It found that 24 percent of New York firms, 38 percent of Chicago firms, 57 percent of Miami’s, and 26 percent of Houston’s set such mind-numbing expectations. This data comes from Amelia J. Uelmen, The Evils of “Elasticity: Reflections on the Rhetoric of Professionalism and the Part-Time Paradox in Large Firm Practice,” 33 Ford. Urban L.J., Nov. 2005 81, 89 n. 26, citing Judith N. Collins, Nat’l Ass’n for Law Placement, Billable Hours: What Do Firms Really Require? 1 (2005).
Law departments should heighten their scrutiny of bills from law firms that belong to the 2,000 hour club – with the pun on “club” intended – because they make bill padding almost inevitable (See my post of Aug. 26, 2006 on bill padding.).