Red Flags in Legal Bills: Long Work Days

[Note: This it the first in a series of posts entitled “red flags in legal bills.” They are taken from my article “Red Flags in Legal Bills:  What Warning Signals are Attorneys Sending?”]

Few people can do their best job working 10 to 12 hours a day, day in and day out.  Attorneys and paralegals are no different than anyone else in that regard.

Occasionally attorneys (and paralegals) do need to put in long days to prepare properly for a trial or arbitration or respond to some type of emergency situation.  However, if an attorney or paralegal is billing 8 to 10+ hours a day just doing routine work on a file, this should immediately raise a red flag.  Here’s why.  Continue reading

Why Staff Reductions at Law Firms to Improve Their Bottom Lines May Hurt Their Clients’ Bottom Lines

“Legal Secretary, a Dying Job: Positions Dwindle as Firms Cut Back; Younger Lawyers Type Their Own Briefs” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2013

The above headline appeared in a WSJ story that reported on the layoffs at the Weil, Gotshal & Manges firm.  The firm announced it was cutting about 60 associates and 110 staffers, including about 60 secretaries.  The firm follows the trend that I have reported on before in this blog of law firm cutbacks over the past several years as law firms eliminate staff to improve their bottom lines.  Those staff cutbacks mostly have followed a 2 to 1 ratio in terms of the number of support staff to attorneys being laid off.

Of course, the fact that the position of legal secretary is a “dying job” is not really that newsworthy to those of us in the legal field.  In fact, the job of “secretary” would have disappeared from all of the American business scene years ago except for a lone holdout, the legal profession (the bastion of modern office efficiency). Continue reading