A story about a Michigan IP lawyer who billed 3,600 hours in 2017 struck a chord among lawyers, with dozens posting critical Tweets suggesting his billing habits are an example of what’s wrong with the profession.
Many of the lawyers who tweeted about the hours Howard & Howard partner Dan Bliss billed in 2017, which average nearly 70 hours a week, said he worked too hard to the detriment of his work
Dozens of people liked this tweet from Michael Skotnicki, an appellate lawyer who is of counsel at Simpson, McMahan, Glick & Burford in Birmingham, Alabama.
That's nothing to be proud of in my book.
— Michael Skotnicki (@MSkotnicki) May 14, 2018
Bliss, who does patent prosecution, trademarks and intellectual property litigation, said he typically works 12-hour days at the office during the week, and puts in hours in the evenings at home and on weekends. He said he manages his workload by staying focused and organized. His goal is to bill 10 hours a day.
But a number of tweeters questioned that.
69 hours a week? That would take at least 80 hours a week to get there.
— Rich (@_505atty) May 15, 2018
Where the auditors at?
— ML (@UMassMike) May 15, 2018
That’s neither healthy nor normal. Assuming those hours aren’t grossly padded, an attorney can not work that much without mentally and physically exhausting themselves. That’s not representing clients well. https://t.co/YGXZR16Gly
— Jay Reding (@JayReding) May 15, 2018
Many of those who tweeted about Bliss’ billing simply suggested he works too hard.
I’ve seen lots of people suggesting this can’t be true. But what if it is? It’s sad and pathetic, that’s what. https://t.co/GRVtauRM5p
— Lawyer Cat* (@LawyerCat_) May 15, 2018
Ryan Clinton, an appellate lawyer at Davis, Gerald & Cremer in Austin, tweeted that he couldn’t do what Bliss does.
3600 billable hours in one year would make me a sad, miserable, lifeless shell of a human. https://t.co/6iucTIVoNI
— Ryan Clinton (@ryanclinton) May 14, 2018
Bliss’ reaction to the twitter kerfuffle? He said he is the kind of person who wants to work and if there’s work to do, he does it. He also scoffs at suggestions he can’t possibly bill as many hours as he does. “I don’t think it’s impossible. You have to have a lot of discipline to do it,” he said.
Bliss said he did miss out on some family events over the years by working so hard.
“My kids have always said that. I wasn’t always there. And that’s true,” he said.
One tweeter cut Bliss a little slack.
Maybe that's what he enjoys. Js – some people have their dream jobs, and their work is their life in a positive way.
— The Bodacious Bii (@BodaciousBii) May 15, 2018
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