To Determine What Paralegals May or May Not Bill, Try Applying the “Perry Mason” Test

One of the larger areas of reductions in legal bills I review is for what I term “inappropriate staffing.” This issue has several facets including the issue of partners doing work that could have been done by lesser billing associates, associates doing work that could have been done by paralegals, and paralegals doing work that could have been done by legal secretaries.

I will talk more about the issue of partners and associates doing work that could have been done by lower billing associates or paralegals in a future piece.  In this blog piece I would like to talk about the issue of paralegals doing work that could have been done by non-billing staff such as legal secretaries as I find it to be the most common of the inappropriate staffing issues.

In a prior post, entitled Does Use of Paralegals Save or Cost More in Legal Expenses?, I noted that “overbilling and misbilling by paralegals can easily add 5% to 6% to legal bills.” This is not to say that using paralegals can and do save on legal costs.  They most definitely do – provided that they bill appropriately.  And to determine what might be appropriate for paralegals to bill for, you really do not need a list of permissible and impermissible paralegal activities to guide you.  All you really need to do is to apply the “Perry Mason” test.

 

[ A full copy of this article is available exclusively to clients of Legal Points, LLC, and Conlon & Associates.  If you are a client and would like to receive a copy of this article, please contact jconlon@conlonassociates.com. ]

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