Friday, January 27, 2006


The lifeblood of any law firm is the time sheet. The time sheet is where, you, the associate, will record your billable hours, thoughts and dreams. This is the single-most important function you have as an associate. You and your time sheet will become inseparable. Some overly obsessed associates have even been known to fabricate laminated pouches so the time sheet can accompany them into the shower.

Up until this point, you may have measured your day in 55 minute blocks (a class) or 30 to 60 minute blocks ( television shows). Now, you'll measure time in .1 (or 6 minute) blocks of time. Get ten .1's and you'll have an hour, get nine 1.0's and you'll have a day, reach 80000.00 and presto, a career!

Time sheets differ depending upon your employment. Some firms demand minute detail for every entry:

.1 letter to client re: OSHA documents needed for responding to Plaintiff's 11/7/05 Supplemental Demand for D&I;

Others may require only:

.1 letter to client re: documents.

For larger projects, time sheets can come very near equaling humanities finest, most beautiful works of art. For instance, a partner once described my time sheet on a motion for summary judgment as, "easily surpassing the heights attained by Michelangelo or Donatello. I actually cried when I read it and it still haunts me."

As a new associate, your time sheet will make or break you. Craftsmanship is important.

Sample time sheet for new associate, week 5:

.3 - Drank three large coffees

.1 - Urinate

.1 - Letter to client re: Deposition dates

.1 - Receive and review letter from Plaintiff's attorney re: extension to respond to discovery

.1 - Urinate

.2 - Renew senior partner's subscription to Juggs Magazine for Gentlemen

.1 - Urinate

.1 - Make pot of coffee

.7 - Review NYT's On-Line

.2 - Check box scores

.8 - Re-arrange office

1.3 - Phone call from college friend

.2 - Spill coffee/clean up spill

.2 - Conference with partner re: upping billable hours

1.1 - Internet search re: untraceable handguns/murder for hire

1.2 - Phone call to student loan company re: deferment (1.1 for hold time)

.1 - Phone call from student loan company/ no on deferment

.9 - Research help-wanted ads/part-time work

.1 - Resolve to bill more than required time in order to make partner

.8 - Get high score in on-line Tetrus tournament

.2 - Conf/ office manager re: bill for Big Beautiful Women downloads

.8 - Conf with other assoc re: how much work you have