Because of a lack of experience, some work done by young lawyers takes more time than necessary. This results in unneccesary fees. With innovative software it is possible to identify these types of work. Specific training for this work can avoid the unneccesary fees.
Often I hear legal counsels say (and hear lawyers complain about it) that clients don’t want to pay for work that young lawyers are doing, and as such, indirectly pay the bill for their training.
Improve the internal training
Law firms should step up and act. They have all reasons to make sure that as many hours of their junior associates are billable. To get to that point, the law firm’s internal training program should be very much directed to the daily practice. The old-fashioned and not very effective general ‘M&A training’ or ‘Litigation Update’ should be thrown out of the building.
Example: Due Diligence
Explain in an intensive training (so more than just an afternoon…) exactly what type of contract clauses a junior lawyer should be aware of in a due diligence. Avoid (the risk) that a junior has to learn this by trial and error.
Furthermore, explain what the consequences are of the presence of ‘red-flag’-clauses, what conclusions should therefore be drawn, which solutions can be presented and how to report on the issues.
With the arrival of smart analysis tools (they’re already here!), the analysis of documents in a due diligence will in the not-so-distant future be limited to the irregular documents. Template-based contracts will be analysed by computers. About 70 to 80% of the due diligence work will be gone in a couple of years. An additional reason to review the training of juniors.
Do it together
Discuss with the client, and show the client, that the trainee knows exactly what he or she is doing. Do not be afraid to share the contents of the training with the client. Client and lawyer can jointly avoid the issue of paying for the on the job training.
Finally: This solution in 3 steps
- Identify the type of work clients don’t want to pay for (high write-offs, low average hourly rate). You can use Clocktimizer for that.
- Set up the work-specific, practical training.
- Discuss in a new case with the client that certain work will be done by junior lawyers, who are specifically trained for the job. No monkeys, but gorillas!