The Exceptional Lawyer

September 8, 2008

You Can’t Do What Your Firm Wants You To Do

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuahornick @ 10:16 am

Law firms are driven by the market.  The market demands short term profits.  Short term profits demand that the firm maximize billable hours.  (Most firms’ reward system is closely linked to billable hours, especially for associates and junior partners.)  Maximizing billable hours means you do nothing but billable work.  That means that 

  1. you do not do work that develops your expertise.  The result is that you do not improve your skills.
  2. you bill as much of your working time as can be defensibly billed.  The result is that clients are charged more for your service.  The clients become disenchanted with you, and you lose them.  And,
  3. you have no life outside your practice.  You become shallow, lonely, and miserable.

So, if you want to have slow professional development, no clients, and a miserable life, do what your firm wants you to do.

Or, you can figure out what you want and figure out how to have a relationship with the firm that benefits the firm while maximizing what you want.  Then, find peace in that.

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