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Scheherazade’s stories: billable hours and blogging

April 23rd, 2004 · No Comments

Scheherazade – whom I met briefly at BloggerCon – has written a post explaining Billable Hours. I’m fairly unfamiliar with the world of law but we have friends who are practicing attorneys, and at this wee-children stage of life, work hours can become a big issues. So I appreciate her descriptions of the difficulties and dilemmas:

Do you bill that 2.5 hours? On the one hand, great, 2.5 hours, that’s a nice big chunk of billable time — great! I hope this will take me a lot longer to finish up. On the other hand, you realize, someone’s going to look at this piece of paper and think, “We’ve hired us a complete idiot! It took her 2.5 hours to do this simple project, and she’s still not finished.” Maybe you should only write down 1 hour. But where are you going to get the other 1.5 hours? Stay later? What if while you’re trying to catch up you’re only slightly less clueless?


Okay, so if you’re already coming in from 8 – 6, and you’ve got to squeeze an additional 11 weeks of billable hours into your life, that’s a project. That’s ambitious. That takes concentration and focus and thinking. You can’t just chat with people, bounce ideas around. You can’t help someone out with a question they’ve got on something you can’t bill for. You can’t go have a leisurely lunch with a friend. If the printer runs out of paper or there’s a little birthday party for someone, well, that’s time that’s going to have to be stolen from something else. And you’re already stealing a whole lot of time away from life as it is. It’s not that lawyers are born jerks, it’s that they’ve got to come up with these extra 11 weeks of life. And it’s not there, really, unless you start taking away ordinary niceties.

I also liked her post-BloggerCon post A Grand Unified Theory of Weblogs:

For me this blog is about making friends, and meeting people, and learning about them, and making a safe place where people can talk honestly about what’s important to them, and demystifying, in my own little teeny way, the scary professional myth that we lawyers are stuffy and self-important and risk averse and abstruse all the time. All the stuff I would do for free in my life. Like, that’s what I am for in the world, to the extent I have any sense of function or mission or purpose. It’s what I do in person and it’s what I want to do on this blog. I have made real actual friends on this blog, and I’ve become fascinated by other people whose blogs I read now who I hope to convert into real actual friends. And the truth is I look at my visitor stats but the biggest number I look at and the one that gives me a thrill is the comments when people write back, and the ones of those that give me the biggest thrill are the comments or the emails I get where people say, “yes, you made me think about something real and true that matters in my life and this is how it is for me.” Wow. That’s why I do this.

Me too.

Tags: blog