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What percent of the hours you billed last week could have been billed by someone with a lower billing rate? If you answered less than 50 percent you’re in the minority of lawyers we’ve been polling. While, yes, the number is murky as it requires that there are lawyers available to do the work and clients won’t object, etc., the overall implication is clear: lawyers massively under-delegate.

In all other professions, people delegate vigorously. It’s how you get more done without doing it all yourself. For a variety of reasons lawyers don’t do it—the lawyer personality type, billable hours targets, etc. It’s all quite bizarre. We know that increasing delegation, or leverage as its unhelpfully termed in law firms, offers many advantages: clients get the work done by the lowest-cost lawyer capable of doing it, associates get better experience, and firm economics improve.

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