The First Paralegal adopted a strategy of ‘hope’ when it came to meeting her billable hour goals. She did her work and hoped she’d meet her goals at the end of the year.
The problem was that she disliked entering her time so she never did that until the end of the month … and then she couldn’t remember what she’d done during the month. She’d spend hours searching her computer and her files to come up with time entries but she never got everything. At the end of the year, she had not met her billable hour goals.
Then the Big Bad Wolf of Billable Hours came to her office and started knocking on her door.
“No, no, no, this can’t happen! I’m here to be a successful paralegal!” said the First Paralegal as she continued to ‘hope’ she’d have enough billable hours to meet her goals…without adopting any new habits to make that happen.
Then “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll see you get no bonus this year! said the wolf.
So the wolf huffed and puffed until it became clear that even though the paralegal had worked very hard all year, sometimes staying late and coming in on weekends, she didn’t have enough billable hours entered in the system to demonstrate her hard work. The First Paralegal would get no year-end bonus.
The Second Paralegal adopted a strategy of ‘ignore’ when it came to meeting his billable hour goals. He did his work and ignored the billable hour issue.
The problem was that he was frequently interrupted by his co-workers (and even by himself) and he constantly stopped his work to answer e-mails and take phone calls. He had trouble keeping track of all the ‘tiny time’ he spent on those tasks. He ignored the fact that ‘tiny time’ can add up to ‘big time’
Then the Big Bad Wolf of Billable Hours came to his office and started knocking on his door.
“No, no, no, this can’t happen! I’m here to be a successful paralegal!” said the Second Paralegal. But he continued to ignore all of the small tasks he handled each day and didn’t enter them in the system….and when his email notification sounded, he stopped everything to check it.
Then “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll see you get no raise this year!” said the wolf.
So the wolf huffed and puffed until it became clear that even though the Second Paralegal had worked very hard all year, he didn’t have enough billable hours entered in the system to demonstrate his hard work. He would get no year-end bonus.
The Third Paralegal had writer’s block. When she tried to enter her time, she couldn’t decide what to write. The process was laborious and took too long.
Her time entries didn’t demonstrate the value of her work. Much of her time was written down or written off by the billing attorney. Often clients refused to pay for the work she did because it sounded ‘clerical’ and not important to their case.
You can guess what happen! The Big Bad Wolf of Billable Hours came to her office and started knocking on her door.
“No, no, no, this can’t happen! I’m here to be a successful paralegal!” said the Third Paralegal. But she continued writing pitiful time entries, not knowing that there were formulas and phrases she could use that would demonstrate the value of her work. Her billable hour totals continued to dwindle.
Then “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll see you lose your job!” said the wolf.
So the wolf huffed and puffed until it became clear that the Third Paralegal could not draft time entries that confirmed value and demonstrated her hard work. She lost her job.
What about you? While this may sound like a fable, it happens all too often and to paralegals you know…maybe even to you.
Falling short of billable hour goals is usually the result of at least one of the following:
1. Lack of planning for billable hour goals and devising a strategy to meet them.
2. Forgetting that ‘tiny time’ must be entered…it adds up to ‘big time’.
3. Drafting time entries that do not demonstrate valuable.
4. Neglecting to enter billable time until the end of the week or the end of the month.
5. Spending too much time on non-billable work.
And there are many more reasons. They can all be traced back to not establishing a clear plan for your time. A plan that keeps the Big Bad Wolf far away as you move steadily toward your billable hour goals.
Are you worried that the Big Bad Wolf of Billable Hours is going to come knocking on your office door? Be sure to check out my new Billable Hour Breakthrough: Turn Your Time into a Billable Hour Gold Mine TODAY.
©2010 Vicki Voisin, Inc
Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at http://paralegalmentor.com/.