Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Job Tips: The Limited Partner

A readers wants your input and advice:

"I was made a limited partner at a small firm (less than 10 attorneys) back in January and I'm doing it wrong. The incentive to hoard work instead of giving it to paralegals or an associate has been too strong and I'm leaving money on the table (for the firm) by not getting to everything my clients are willing to pay for. Back in January, the idea of profit sharing for work given out or supervised was ruled out. I'm still well compensated with the projects I am able to get to myself, but I haven't been feeling generous enough to give work away. Frankly, I've been stingy with my time when the others in the practice group I used to supervise at straight salary want help or work. If/when I make equity partner, I will have some bad habits to undo if I stay on this path. 
The blog's experience would be appreciated to help me figure out how to approach the mismatched incentives. I think I need to adjust my perspective."

What do you think?

26 comments:

  1. Simple - just farm the work to paralegals and legal assistants, then bill the time like you did the work. It's what I like to call a win-win. Everything gets done at your rate.

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    1. . . . and you see no ethical problem with billing a client at an attorney's rate for paralegal and secretarial work? Who are you ??

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    2. Whatever gave you the idea that I didn't and don't see a problem with it?

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  2. Give it to an associate. Then, when the time comes to bill the work, bill it as if you did it. Partnership has its privileges.

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    1. Signed, People who have never read "The Firm."

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    2. Watching the movie doesn't count as reading the book. Countersigned, People who did actually read "The Firm."

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  3. And that's why people hate attorney's. You sad motherfuckers.

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  4. You don't have equity?

    You're not a partner.

    I get a cut of everything I originate, whether I work on it or not (often the stuff I land is given to junior associates because I'm too busy).

    But I don't have equity, yet.

    So guess what?

    I'm still just an associate no matter what fancy title they give me. And I'm sure as shit not a "Limited Partner" whatever that is.

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    1. what's the norm in the market? I've heard others call an "eat-what-you-kill-senior associate" a "junior partner"

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  5. I'm not the wealthiest attorney in town, but I have a decent reputation and sleep at night by living my work life by one simple motto: do what is best for the client. The point of practicing law should not be to milk a client for every cent they are willing to pay. They may pay it to you today, for this case, but in the long run it's not worth it.

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    1. The motto of Bill like crazy has taken down firms. You must give value to clients. I practice plaintiffs work, so I no longer bill, but I have hired attorneys and been billed $250 - $750 an hour, which is fine, but it is the overbilling that makes you mad.

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    2. Corrolary #1 to the simple motto: Having a happy lawyer is one of the best tools in the client's toolchest.

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    3. 10:31 sounds like me. That means he is right. In my opinion.

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    4. There are limits, though. Like giving away work so the client gets taken care of but the attorney doesn't get a cut of it isn't sustainable. OP says that revisiting compensation is off the table, but s/he's not helping anyone, himself, the client, or the firm by not talking about it. Isn't that what's best for the client?

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  6. The best partners are the ones who know how to delegate. They are also typically the happiest ones. The ideal big firm partner has a desk, a Dictaphone and an intercom to summon junior partners and associates for briefing/debriefing. The only billable hours would be those conferences, occasional redlining and court appearances. 800 hours per year sounds right for big partners. But associated revenue should be the equivalent of thousands and thousands of hours.

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    1. What's a Dictaphone? That is so 90's. An a-hole on the phone is a Dictaphone.

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    2. The fastest you can type is 60-80 words a minute. You can easily dictate 250+ words a minute. No attorney should be wasting time typing. You are paid for the product of your mind, not your fingers.

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    3. I've never been able to use a dictaphone or any type of transcription. I'm not a linear thinker and have a habit of editing as I type. Of course, I type 110 wpm after corrections (a bit more if I don't have to correct spelling.) I'm impressed at someone who can dictate a pleading.

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    4. Hey 3:37, let's move into the 1990's and beyond, will ya?

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    5. I've read pleadings before by attorneys who I can almost guarantee were dictating because it ends up being a long stream of consciousness. Letters are easier to dictate because they are usually more conversational. I would never try to dictate a pleading. That's what associates are for. They draft the pleading, you redline it and take all the credit.

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    6. Good writing originates in the mind. It does not matter whether you type or dictate. No question it took me a while to master dictation, but I have found it generally increases my productivity.

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    7. Well, bully for you and your ability to remember numerous pin citations off the top of your head.

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    8. The guys in my office that dictate are the biggest weirdos and the shittiest writers. I bet they'd tell you they're great writers though. Eye of the beholder I guess.

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    9. Dictation is an acquired skill. It takes time to master it. It takes discipline to avoid the same pitfalls any writer faces. It is another tool. It is useful for some people and not others. Like PowerPoint, it has its fans and detractors. Try it. If it works, great; if not, you gave it a shot.

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  7. I believe in sharing the wealth. When others have projects to share you will be at the top of their list because you sent work to them. Also gives you insight into how others work and an opportunity to learn. Help others and they will help you!

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