Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who knew? Lawyer disciplined for billing more than 24 hours a day

In a post today on ABA Journal: Law News Now, Debra Cassens Weiss reports the sad case of an Ohio attorney disciplined by that state's Supreme Court for billing more than 24 hours a day. (The Ohio Supreme Court opinion is here.)

I can't help but imagine the shock with which this news will be received in some conference rooms....

* shimmer * shimmer * shimmer *

(Dissolves are hard to render on the printed page.)

We take you now to the conference room / lunchroom at imaginary mega-firm Smith, Wesson, Dow & Jones. The china and the remains of the pheasant having been cleared away, the management committee turns to the urgent business at hand....

SMITH: My secretary -- er, my assistant brought this to my attention this morning.

JONES: ABA Journal, you say? I don't remember reading anything about this in this month's issue.

DUDLEY (a junior member): No, sir, it was online.

JONES: Whose line?

SMITH: No, Barnaby, he means it was on that Intertubes thingamajig.

DUDLEY: Internet, sir. Internet. We have positioned ourselves in the market as a high-tech, 21st Century firm, responding to client needs with the latest technology --

AGNEW (senior to Dudley): Can the speech, Dudley, there's no clients here. (To Jones) It's the computer stuff, Barnaby, the gizmos that the kids use. (Gestures in Dudley's direction.)

JONES: Oh. That.

SMITH: The point is that this could undermine our entire business model. Does this case apply to us? We need a memo. (Pause.) Get Higgins in here.

DUDLEY: Laid off, sir.

SMITH: Oh. Longbottom?

DUDLEY: Document review in (consults laptop) Phoenix.

SMITH: Phoenix in August? Capital. How about Smedley?

DUDLEY: Maternity leave. (Watching Smith's reaction) We have a policy on this, sir --

AGNEW: We have to. It's the law.

SMITH: If you say so.

DUDLEY: While we've been talking, I've scanned the opinion. It seems the lawyer in Ohio billed the juvenile court for more than 24 hours on at least three occasions --

AGNEW: Billed the same client more than 24 hours in a day?

DUDLEY: Apparently.

AGNEW: Well, we'd never let that happen, eh, gentlemen?

(Smith and Jones make appropriate harrumphing noises.)

SMITH: Problem solved, then. Crisis averted. (Turning to intercom) You can bring in the dessert cart now.

1 comment:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Another crisis averted!