Why Reviewing and Revising Work of Subordinates Can Raise Both Billing and Competency Issues

Recently I saw something unusual in a legal bill.  A senior partner actually billed “N/C” (or no charge) for the time spent on reviewing and revising the work of a subordinate attorney.

Before going further, let me state that in my CLE seminars for attorneys on the ethics of legal billing, I always suggest that they include in their fee bills work they may have done but did not charge for.  This is good P.R. as it allows clients to see all the hard work that they are actually putting into the file.  (I also suggest that they actually look over their bills before they go out to clients!  This is because I often see grammatical and other glaring mistakes in bills.)

But I do find that writing off time to review a subordinate’s work is unusual. This is because I mostly see attorneys billing their full time spent on reviewing and/or revising the work of subordinate staff. However, unless the attorney is actually signing a document being prepared by a subordinate (including both attorneys and paralegals), none of the time spent to review the document prepared by the subordinate should be billed. Continue reading