“Ford & Harrison, a 190-attorney labor and employment firm, has tossed out billable-hour requirements for first-year associates. The program aims to close the practical-skills gap of law school education and increase value to clients. The firm also hopes it will enable associates to handle meatier matters more quickly.“ according to Leigh Jones of The National Law Journal.

I have the privilege of knowing C. Lash Harrison (pictured) and his remarkable stature within his firm.  When I read about this bold initiative I was in no way surprised that it was Lash who had the gravitas to pull this off.  It may be prophetic that the tag line on the Ford & Harrison firm’s website reads:  “THE RIGHT RESPONSE AT THE RIGHT TIME”

"Everyone sits around and complains about the problems," said C. Lash Harrison, managing partner of the law firm. "I figured, what the heck, maybe we can try something."

Observation:  The issue of newer lawyers recording time on files is a bit of a hornet’s nest in most firms.  If the time is billable, it detracts from the billing partner’s realization rate and perhaps even hours billed.   Carefully measured associates steer away from files where they can’t record billable time.  This creates a tension that is based on economic reality but serves neither the associate’s training objectives nor the client’s desire to optimize value.  Thank goodness for fresh thinking and bold initiatives.  That makes C. Lash Harrison a hero to me.

Thank you to LAW.COM for its post Firm Kills Billable Hour for First-Year Associates