I am not normally inclined to talk about the personal here, but I need a safe place to kvetch a little. My billing year ends on December 15, and I have approximately 90+ hours that I still need to bill. This may be a little too inside-baseball-ish for the non-lawyers, but only 40+ hours of that requirement is for revenue generating files; that is, actual legal work, like research, brief writing, responding to pleadings, and drafting opinions. 50 or so of those hours are intended to be “administrative work,” which includes everything that isn’t revenue generating. I can easily bill 40 hours on actual legal work. I could do that in my sleep. But, this administrative bullshit is killing me. The managing attorney in my department tells me that it doesn’t matter, but after years of experience in the corporate world, I know that not meeting that goal can only hurt me.
Now, the extra administrative burden was there because my company had this plan for all employees to participate in a two day seminar-type thing. At some point in the middle of the billing year, they jettisoned that plan. Also, although last year we could bill the hours that we spend on mandatory continuing education to administrative time, this year we were told that we had to do that all on our own time. The explanation for that is the somewhat nonsensical claim that maintaining our license to practice by participating in state mandated CLE doesn’t have anything to do with our job. Yeah. I can’t really imagine how fast they would fire me if I let my license lapse. Anyway, the point is that for various reasons, I did approximately 40 hours of CLE this year, which, if I had been allowed to bill for it, would go a long way towards covering my extra administrative hours.
The icing on the cake is that I could bill 90+ hours to legal work in the next eight days. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but I could do it. However, I have also been informed that I should really avoid billing over my target for revenue generating files. First, because it doesn’t help me any. I work in house, so I don’t get any more of a bonus for billing over my target. Second, because billing over my target only makes management more inclined to raise the bar for next year.
I have no idea what to do. I’m going to either have to accept a deficit in my goal for administrative hours, or accept criticism for meeting my total hours goal by billing to revenue generating files, and potentially screw myself for next year.
Life would be so much simpler if my job performance was actually measured by my job performance, rather than arbitrary bullshit.