How lawyers handle their billing has long been a topic of discussion in our field. Traditionally, it was a simple process. Record your time. Prepare invoices by listing all these billing entries multiplied by the lawyers’ hourly billing rates and adding expenses clients should pay. Send out the billing on the same day every month. Get paid. But it was often not simple and smooth – and it still isn’t today. Recording a lawyer’s time by the six-minute increments is not the way legal billing has always been done.
Most readers know of the challenges found between recording time and final billing. A new associate demonstrates their expertise by doing too much research and writing a lengthy, detailed memo, generating billing that needs to be written down. The partner did a lot of work on a project, but generated few billing records because things were so busy. One partner is out of state and failed to turn in a week’s worth of billing before leaving. And the pre-bills can get stuck in the review process because both emergencies and procrastination can happen.
BILLING HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN RATE TIMES THE HOURS
Read the rest of my October 2021 Law Practices Tips column in the Oklahoma Bar Journal.