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A Look at the 'Real L.A. Law'

October 13, 1987

Your series on "The Real L.A. Law" (Part I, Sept. 27-29) depicts what has become an unfortunate situation in the legal profession, the necessity to increase the number of hours billed to clients in order to cover increased overhead and higher profits.

Firms of the size mentioned require attorneys to submit at least 40 billable hours per week. In order to produce that quantity of billable hours, a lawyer must work at least 60 actual hours per week, creating a situation of great pressure and stress.

This pressure to produce billable hours creates a professional conflict--the necessity to generate a quantity of work versus the obligation to perform a quality service. Usually, quality suffers.

Lack of quality is reflected primarily in unnecessary work being performed.

As a service business, a lawyer should provide clients with necessary services, efficiently performed and at a reasonable price. Although certain legal procedures, particularly in the context of litigation, may be available, good judgment and common sense may indicate that they would not be appropriate in a given case. However, they may be used because of the need to generate fees.

It is reprehensible when the financial needs for the lawyers outweigh the professional needs of the clients.


Woodland Hills

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