Double Billing

A friend of mine is finishing law school and preparing for the bar. He has an ethics exam to take, and since he is a WoW player, I am worried. There are presumably ethical rules against charging more than one client for the same work (although it is normal billing to do work for multiple clients in the same hour and round the charge for each up to a full hour). MMOs teach us that you should always get paid twice. If you are killing a monster, it should be for a quest or in a dungeon on the way towards a boss that drops something you need, ideally one that counts towards an achievement and drops components you need for crafting. It is even better when you can find multiple quests for the same enemies, multiple achievements that need them, etc. This poor law student has years of Skinner box training to undo.

: Zubon

7 thoughts on “Double Billing”

  1. I think you have a naively optimistic view of business ethics as actually interpreted by real world lawyers.

  2. “although it is normal billing to do work for multiple clients in the same hour and round the charge for each up to a full hour”

    In what field of practice, or where in the United States, is that considered normal or ethical?

    I’m well aware of the practice of padding, and I’m aware that 3 minutes equals six when one is on a tenth of an hour increment system, but it’s news to me that, say, preparing six motions for a default judgment in one hour, tweaking the facts in a form document to make each fit the case, is justification for billing six hours.

    1. I think we’re agreeing here, although I may be misunderstanding how small/large of billing “increments” are in use. Re-using work with minor changes is exactly what I was meaning as an unethical practice, although I was thinking of the more extreme example of “It took me six hours to make this form document, so I charge every client that uses it for six hours of document creation.”

  3. My girlfriend (attorney) was complaining about a few people on the team she manages bill too much (she is in the room with them and knows what people are doing) on the order of an hour or two per day, so she went to her boss and to HR, and they told her “stop making a mountain out of a molehill” she also went from the favorite about to be hired, to being the black sheep and got a dressing down by HR for causing trouble.

    I told her “if you are so concerned about ethics why did you go into the law?”

    Whenever she tells me some crazy story, I am also fond of saying “I thought you were all like Atticus Finch! My illusions have been shattered!”

    I’m sorry I keep posting these anti lawyer blog comments. I must have some sort of problem with them.

    1. Actually I think playing games and studying game theory has helped me to really understand the law more and how it affects us. Laws are the same as rules in games: no matter what the designer intends, laws provide incentives to behave a certain way. And all of us are game players, and we change our behavior based on the law, but we still find ways to achieve our goals.

      Games have greatly changed my opinion on vice laws and regulatory laws.

      1. Yes, regulatory laws are largely an exercise in futility if there is enough money at issue

        The main entry reminds me of an old tale. A young attorney dies enexpectedly and goes before St. Peter, whereupon he expresses his confusion: “I don’t understand! How did I die? I’m only 29!”

        St. Peter looks at a large book in front of him and says “According to your timesheets, you’re 102.”

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