Friday, January 4, 2008
When to bill?
It seems as if every attorney is expected to specialize in one thing or another. As a solo attorney who is just beginning his/her career, the best advice that one can give as far as what field of law to pursue is this: it's not what you do, it's what you do not do. For lawyers beginning their practice, the objective is to learn as much as possible about a variety of fields in order to discover what interests the lawyer. But is this doing a disservice to the client? Should a client have to pay for the "learning period" of the newly licensed attorney? Ultimately, it is an issue each attorney must deal with. Every attorney has been faced with the dilemma of "is this billable time?". For me personally, I spend probably twice as much time researching as I do billing. This may mean that I earn less money at the end of the day, but I feel as if my clients are getting equal value. I'm not charging them for the time I spend learning about current law in a particular area. Since no lawyer is current in all areas at all times, it seems logical to spend some non-billable time learning about the field.