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Anyone who said that life in a law firm is short of challenges, has never worked in one. Among the many, is finding time to deal with law-firm admin: time recording, form filling and all the daily blocking and tackling. I sometimes get asked by younger lawyers when to do this and what to prioritize. These are important conversations, with no easy answers. One thing I try to stress is the importance of the lawyer’s personal realization rate, not just monitoring it, but actively improving it. So, if you’re wondering about your own realization rate, here’s a few pointers.

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1.  It matters: Your realization rate matters to people who set your pay. It matters a lot. These people—managing partners, office heads and compensation committees—look at this data closely and regularly. You can too. 

 2.  It’s no mystery: Your realization rate isn’t complex or even clandestine. Think of it as the percentage of your hard work which your firm sees as cash. It’s a fair bet that your firm won’t pay you based on money you almost earned. Fair enough, right? And you can monitor it in real time. You know how hard you’re working. If you’re under recording time, you know that too. Likewise if your time isn’t being billed, or if bills are being written off. Most firms not only share realization data with attorneys, they want you to look at it.

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