Another Reason Business People Need to Manage their Attorneys: The Legal Industry’s Definition of “Productivity” Drives Unnecessary Work

The attorney’s definition of “productivity”? How many hours did I bill the client and get paid for? It’s that simplistic. And it’s that one-sided — in favor of the lawyer — and against the client. Consequently — according to conventional law firm metrics — the lawyer who bills and gets paid for ten hours to draft a contract is twice as “productive” as the one who bills and gets paid for five hours to draft the same contract. In business, “productivity” means units of output divided by units of input. The enterprise sets out to produce a good or a service to defined specifications using the least inputs of capital, labor, and materials. But the 2018 Report on the State of the Legal Market by Georgetown Law School and Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor defines “law firm productivity” as “the number of billable hours worked by lawyers divided by the total number of…

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