Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Which Came First: The Guilt or the Billable Hours?

I have only "billed hours" for about twenty months in the last fifteen years (my short stint as "of counsel" in my old law firm between corporate jobs), but my shpilkes today remind once again of the age-old Car18 question:  do Type A people create billable hour guilt, or does billable hour guilt create Type A people?  Back in my younger lawyering days, I always knew that if I took a two-week vacation, it was going to cost me (this is going to sound quaint, but it was a midwestern large firm in the 1980s) about 70 billable hours.  (Aside:  one of the primary benefits of going in-house, particularly in the automotive business, was NOT reduction in hours or more control over schedule; I worked longer and harder in-house than I ever did in the law firm, but that's a whole 'nother story.  No, the best thing was that the entire automotive industry shut down between Christmas and New Year's Day, and not only did you not have to worry about not billing hours, but when you got back in the office, by and large, there was very little waiting for you that hadn't been there when you left.)

So here it is May 15, I'm back home in Indiana (they should make a song out of that idea), I can't gradeXanax exams because they won't get here until tomorrow at the earliest, but I feel like I should be doing something productive.  I can no longer remember if this predated my thirteen plus years (1979-1992, the Wonder Years, when you grow to 90% of your adult income) as a billable hour producer.  Maybe it's a genetic predisposition that is triggered by environmental factors.

[Jeff Lipshaw]

* Acknowledgment to lawsandlaugh.com for the cartoon.  I just discovered the site.  It looks like fun. 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2007/05/which_came_firs.html

Billable Hours, Teaching & Curriculum, The Practice | Permalink

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