Timesheet Lawyers and the Billion Dollar Swindle

To begin, let’s review how a lawyer will typically bill you or his/her advice. Consider a $500 per hour lawyer. At that charge rate, you’d expect the lawyer to deliver at least a 7 out 10 in terms of professionalism and of course the more you pay, the more your expectation that your deliverables and legal outcomes will tangibly be worth the money you’ve paid. But wait, lets tote up the costs of this lawyer and see if you math holds up to introspection.

At $500/per hour you’d expect an income for this legal beaver not too exceed 960,000 assuming a 48 hour year, a 5 day week and an 8 hour day. Not a bad income you may argue – and by the time you take off overheads, taxes and other expenses running a partnership, then perhaps this person nets $500k plus in a year. But you’d be wrong – how wrong will surprise you. In fact 960,000 is actually the base minimum this lawyer will make in a year; however we can go on to calculate the theoretical maximum this lawyer can earn, and blow a few cobwebs out of the window as we do so.

To illustrate the size of the problem, we must first factor in the costs of ’rounding’ that our legal beaver administer to their charge rate. Most (not all) legal professionals charge in what’s called whole minute intervals. Some practices may charge at 6 minute intervals, some at 15, others at 30, and the real hogs of the trade a whopping 60 minute units or more. So for example, if you call your lawyer to arrange a meeting, your one minute phone call will cost you 1 unit of time. This is how lawyers charge, and why their costs are so expensive. However, the problem is deeper than this as we shall now find out.

Let’s return to our competent lawyer who charges $500/hour with a fifteen minute rounded interval. In this instance, your one minute phone call will cost you $125. You may be surprised by this, and argue that the ‘itemized’ bill would should these costs. However, if you’ve ever received a hefty lawyers bill, rarely does it detail anything beyond a cursory summary, and your 1 minute $125 phone call simply gets lost in the noise of all the other zeros.

But we can go further. Now we’ve isolated our lawyer’s exact costs, we can go on to calculate the theoretical maximum this individual can earn in a single year. We do this by assuming that each second of the day can be used to do a piece of work, and as such each is billable as 1 whole 15 minute unit. Doing the math, the maximum earning potential for this individual is $864,000,000. Who else do you know can earn anything between a million and a billion dollars a year?

Clearly, when a lawyer bills you $125 for your one minute phone call, the remaining 14 minutes of time (which you have already paid for), can be used on a different client, meaning that your lawyer is charging you for time he/she is spending on other client work. This is commonly known as double dipping, and as you can imagine, there is considerable amount of grey when it comes the legality of this state of affairs.

Well, greed is the obvious answer as to the why whole units are used, but in addition, we must also remember that lawyers are timesheet driven, and were the first to realize that you couldn’t really use a timesheet to record a 1 minute telephone conversation, most especially if it took you 3 minutes to actually write the entry down in you pen and paper time ledger. Of course with the computer, timesheets (time sheets, depending on your location), became part of the digital era – with one thing missing. Developers simply ported the manual-entry timesheet into software, not because it was their only course of action, but because electronic timesheets were a big enough leap forward from the old pen and paper time logging process previously employed. Having it all centralized came next, and dumping the process onto the web an obvious part of this organically evolving process.

However, in the early part of this Century, with more powerful computers and a more beefy operating system, software developers started to look more closely at the whole time tracking process and realized that manual entry timesheets were now redundant, as new and innovative automated time tracking software (such as MetriQ, one of the first in the field) could be used to control the entire time management process. Other software companies have also started to take a look a closer at how to reduce the time errors, inaccuracies and other costly problems inherent with manual and electronic timesheets, a growing dissatisfaction with the time recording process, and the excessive costs of legal advice.

If you have a need for legal or accounting advice, and you don’t want to pay through the nose for time spent doing someone else’s work, then insist your practitioner uses a hands-free time tracking software solution, to track time efficiently, comprehensively and in a way that you can ask to see, down to the nearest second, how your lawyer worked, and how their time was exactly used for your benefit, and no one else. Timeshe technology has peaked, and with a change in technology that releases many of the inherent problems associated with this time attendance paradigm, meaning that we should hopefully realized a more open, a more transparent way for businesses to measure time, providing the opportunity for them to work in a fair and equitable way. Yes, I know I’m dreaming, now you too can start dreaming, and together, our thought will start to change the universe.

Five Factors That Limit Deliverance Ministry Effectiveness

Over the span of more than fourteen years in deliverance ministry, I have witnessed a broad spectrum of results in my sessions with clients and seminar attendees. There have been many wonderful testimonies, partial victories and (sadly) sometimes there is little good fruit that results.

The list below comprises five major factors that I have determined are limits on the effectiveness of deliverance ministry for the recipient:

  1. People do not stir up their faith. We see clearly from scriptures in the gospels that the faith level of people mattered when they came to Jesus to get their needs met. Jesus did not heal all the lame, blind and demonized people he passed but he did minister to all who came to him. They had enough faith to approach Jesus and that is still required today. I tell my clients that it is not a question of how much faith someone has but rather that they exercise it, step out and choose to expect a work of the Holy Spirit.
  2. People are not properly prepared. While some have a different approach, we believe it is important that people be prepared for deliverance ministry by doing some homework. Those who do not prepare, and therefore put the entire burden on us (the ministers) for results, are often disappointed.
  3. There is little compelling reason for a change. We like to see a level of desperation in our clients and seminar attendees. Unless there is a strong motivation to shake the status quo in their lives, it can be too comfortable to stay where they are spiritually, mentally and emotionally. This is particularly evident if a third-party (a spouse or parent typically) is taking the lead in initiating the contact and setting up appointments.
  4. Some are not prepared to “walk out” deliverance and develop new habits. Deliverance ministry involves a power encounter with the demonic realm. When the spirits are gone, there is still spiritual warfare, including battles in the mind that need to be fought. New habits need to be formed and this takes time (typically up to six weeks) and effort and some are unwilling to make the commitment. People can be delivered from spirits however they may be unable to maintain the victory.
  5. Questionable training, experience and anointing of the deliverance minister. This is clearly an important issue and due diligence is important when people are choosing to receive deliverance ministry. We are quick to research potential doctors, lawyers and restaurants so we should not be quick to receive ministry from unknown or unproven sources, especially at the altar of a church.

While controversial and imperfect, I believe that the biblical ministry of deliverance is valid and necessary today in the Body of Christ. Counselors and pastors are not miracle workers and the motivation of the client is highly important for securing positive outcomes. We cannot take ownership of the results but it is comforting to know that we do have the faithfulness and power of the Lord himself working in us and through us to help others!

Dog Owners Beware

Recently, a New Jersey Superior Court in Mercer County awarded $100,000 in damages to a UPS driver for injuries he suffered while trying to deliver a package. The homeowners’ dog was roaming alone loose on the property, had a history of viciousness, went at the driver, and the driver severely and permanently injured his knee trying to escape.

Also, recently, an unrestrained dog jumped out of its owner’s car window and viciously attacked a woman and her dog. The attacking dog was reported to be a repeat offender.

New Jersey law holds dog owners liable, or financially responsible, for injuries caused by their dog’s behavior in three possible – and very common – scenarios.

First, New Jersey law says dog owners, and only the owners, are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog’s bite, so long as the victim was lawfully on the property and regardless of the dog’s history.

However, if the dog has a vicious propensity that the owner knew or should have known, then the dog’s owner or even the dog’s keeper are responsible for any injuries caused by the dog – even if not caused by biting and biting was not involved in the incident. Vicious propensity can be proven simply by the dog’s history of biting, jumping, chasing, scratching, or even being overly affectionate or playful. “Down boy!”

And, third, even if the dog did not bite and did not have a vicious propensity, then the owner or keeper may be liable for injuries because they failed to exercise a reasonable degree of care for the safety of others.

Owners have a duty to provide safe premises for those invited onto its property and a duty to control their dogs. It is considered dangerous to allow a dog on your property unleashed, unrestrained or unfenced, or to roam free, unsupervised or in an area where it is likely to encounter strangers. At least a clear warning of the dog’s presence should be posted.

People visit for a variety of legitimate reasons every day: Mail carriers, newspaper carriers, package deliverers, utility & maintenance workers, fundraisers, friends and family. Knowing this, owners must anticipate their dog’s behavior. Dogs protect their turf. They investigate strangers. They approach and greet anyone who enters their turf. Unless the dog is responsibly controlled, preventable injuries are likely to happen.

Even friendly dogs can cause serious injury – unintentionally. A big, friendly dog that gets excited when visitors arrive can knock the visitor down, wrench their back, twist their ankle, or otherwise “kill” them with kindness and curiosity. Just the sight of a large dog on the loose and coming toward a visitor can frighten them into hasty escape and injury. Not everyone shares enthusiasm for dogs, especially a 100-pound German Shepard rushing to say “Hello” … or “Get lost”. And that’s their right.

When dog owners fail to exercise care and visitors are injured, people’s lives can be ruined and courts will impose substantial money damages to compensate victims. Compensation has been recovered for injuries when someone was running from a dog, when someone fell after being chased by a dog, or when someone was knocked to the ground by a dog.

Owning a dog carries special responsibility to ensure others’ safety. If you are a delivery person, newspaper carrier, utility worker, or any visitor to another’s property where a dog is present, and are injured by the dog, you have a right to recover money damages under the law.