This article appeared in Accounting and Financial Planning for Law Firms, an ALM/Law Journal Newsletters publication covering all financial aspects of managing law firms, including: building a law firm budget; rates and rate arrangements with clients; coordinating benefits for law firm partners; and the newest strategies to grow your firm and your career.

Almost 30 years ago when I began my career consulting to law firms, the then managing partner of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irving used that term to refer to the months of October through December. It was his way of pointing out to his fellow partners that the necessary activities of practice management that so many of them had avoided for the first nine or 10 months of the year now had to be addressed. Clients that had not been billed as frequently as firm policy required now had to be invoiced. Outstanding invoices, many issued in the cold days of early March and April, now had to be collected and current work would not only have to be billed but collected as well.

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