Building a Better Legal Profession :: The Old Blog

We get letters by csegall
April 22, 2007, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 One attorney writes in with words of encouragement.  Things are going along well, by the way–we’ve got meetings scheduled with major firms over the next month and will keep everyone posted.

Dear Young Attorneys (and Future Attorneys):

I have been practicing law for 26 years and have seen the horrible effect the billable hours race has had.  Obscene minimum billable hours requirements reward the most inefficient lawyer; if that lawyer can combine inefficiency with the need for days of study before grasping the point, he or she can become the high billable hours hero in a firm and partnership material!  The need to bill a minimum of 2000, 2100, 2200 hours per year creates a strong temptation among associates to falsify timesheets and a strong incentive among partners to turn a blind eye to the possibility.  Young attorneys at large firms live under grueling conditions with no personal life and little pleasure in their job; I know hundreds of attorneys and with extremely rare exceptions, the only ones truly happy about their professional situation are those who have somehow escaped minimum billables.  

For years I have expected a rebellion by law students, who I thought would finally simply refuse jobs with those requirements.  For years I have been disappointed as class after class quietly, even eagerly, signed up for the onerous requirements.  I hope your attempts to reform a legal profession which has badly lost its way succeeds.  If it does, maybe I can begin to again recommend law as a profession worth pursuing.  I wish you the best of luck.


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