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The legal profession, of course, quickly comprehended that pursuant to the hourly approach to billing, two factors were paramount: the total amount of hours it took to complete a matter and the amount of dollars charged per hour. As both transactions and litigation became more complex, law firms found it necessary and easy to justify adding bodies (read: hours) to their clients' legal projects. With the number of legal projects increasing as a result of explosive economic growth in both developed and developing nations, the demand for top legal talent during most of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s was greater than the supply. Hiring associates and putting them to work on billable legal matters was, as one Big Law managing partner stated, "like owning a printing press."


2013, Published in GPSolo 30, no. 1, January/February (2013), by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association