After Wedding, an Associate's Overbilling Leads to a Suspension

, The Am Law Daily


A former Faegre Baker Daniels associate's law license was suspended for nine months after she inflated or fabricated time entries worth nearly $40,000 to meet a billable hour expectation. Inexcusable, sure. But an expert said it is symptomatic of the pressure Big Law lawyers face to meet hourly requirements.

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What's being said

  • StephanieRMontgomery

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  • J. O‘Brien

    Billable hour requirements, even reasonable ones, cannot but pose an ethical (and moral) challenge to those who cannot meet them. The challenge is to resign and thereby retain your integrity. If that sounds harsh, it isn‘t meant to. I think it‘s just a fact.

  • meeltruuper

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  • ASF

    I got married and went on my honeymoon for 1 week during my 3L year. During my absence, I missed the weekly activity in my Negotiations class. On my return, I asked my prof. if I could make up the activity. He said, no, don‘t worry about it, missing one class won‘t affect my grade. Well, it did affect my grade, which went from an A to a B just based on the one absence, which the prof. admitted when I spoke to him about the grade after the fact. So...I totally "get" this Associate not believing her supervisor who told her she wouldn‘t be fired if she failed to make the billing requirement.

  • Joe Zupsig

    Associates have zero control over how much they bill. They don‘t generate their own work. It‘s the firm‘s responsibility to make sure each associate is given enough work to meet any minimum billing requirements. When firm‘s place the burden on the associates to reach minimum billing requirements, they are, in effect, asking associates to inflate their hours. It‘s the firm‘s failure if associates are under-billing, not the associates.

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