Large law firms reward their employees by focusing on how much time has been spent working, regardless of the employee’s efficiency. In some major firms, such as Dewey & LeBeouf, lawyers were expected to work at minimum 1800 hours annually, and some law firms will even push that number as high as 2100!
Therefore, in other words, performance is measured entirely on time-spent working (often referred to as the billable hour) versus the quality of the lawyer’s work. A classic case of working harder but not smarter, and the result is that the lawyers are encouraged to be inefficient in order to bring in the most amount of money to the firms, which affects the clients with prohibitive costs. In fact, according to Forbes on May 2012, Dewey & LeBeouf ended up increasing prices by 75% over the past decade because of a focus on hours worked. The result is that their clients ended up cutting off connections with the company, costing the law firm potential profits and speeding their way to bankruptcy.
Instead of focusing on how much time is spent, law firms would be best served to focus on a performance-oriented system, because nowadays, with the advent of the internet, the need for mundane work has diminished while the need for expertise has risen. In the case of a litigation lawyer, the goal is to successfully argue on behalf of the client or provide domination information for their customers. All efforts that do not work toward that goal are costly distractions for both client and vendor.
Why More Law Firms Will Go the Way of Dewey & LeBoeuf – Mark Harris – Forbes – May 8, 2013 – Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/05/08/why-more-law-firms-will-go-the-way-of-dewey-leboeuf/