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It might be tempting to think that recording excessive billable time is all a product of American culture. The Clifford Chance requirement of 2,420 billable hours is so high that the complaints of its associates in New York might be thought irrelevant to law firms on this side of the Atlantic. That would be a mistake for any UK law firm. The memo quotes an associate as saying the requirement for billable hours “makes me feel that management cares exceedingly about hours billed, but gives no thought to the quality of my work”.

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