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« Balanced Living Is About The Dash, Not The Slash | Main | Attorney Career Question: 55 Year Old Recent Law School Graduate Seeking Strategies to Transition Into Real Estate Law »

Work Life Winner: Ford & Harrison Kills Billable Hours for First Year Associates

No More Billable Hours We've previously blogged about Scott Turow's cry to kill the billable hour, and it seems at least one mid-size firm is heeding his call - at least for first year associates. Ford & Harrison, a 190-attorney labor and employment firm with 18 offices, has eliminated billable hour requirements for first-year associates under its new "Year One" program - a unique 15-month regimen that emphasizes on-the-job training for first year associates through mentoring, hands-on work assignments and direct observation of client matters such as depositions, hearings and negotiations. The firm says it is modeled after the medical school’s resident approach.

In a recent article on law.com, Ford & Harrison's managing partner said the program aims to close the practical-skills gap of law school education and increase value to clients, and hopefully enable associates to handle meatier matters more quickly. Better attorney retention was also cited as a factor.

While the pressing issue of work life balance for lawyers certainly extends to associates beyond the first year, we salute Ford & Harrison for taking a step in the right direction and annoint the firm a "Work Life Balance Winner."

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A deserved winner with some innovative thinking. using the med school program as a template is something I haven't heard of being used before. Well done. We've blogged the entry ourselves.

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