JLU: Junior Lawyers' Union

Asserting the rights of junior lawyers, who have much more power than they realise.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Accounting for your time... on the loo

The first question that non-lawyer mates (if you've got any left) ask you about time recording is invariably, "If you have to account for every six minutes, how do you account for your time on the toilet?"

They think they're being clever but, in truth, it's a rather mundane question with a pretty obvious answer: "If I'm staring at a spot on the wall above the urinal, thinking about what I have to do when I get back to my desk, it's considering. If I'm doing a number 2, I take reading - so it's reviewing."

Non-lawyers should be minded to wash their hands after handling legal documents. There's no telling how many lawyers have "reviewed" the document you're thumbing through.

My clients should, at least, take some comfort in the fact that I restrict my reviewing to the good bathroom. By the "good bathroom", I mean the bathroom on the reception floor, which has all the client meeting rooms. There are no lawyers' offices on this floor and, consequently, no lawyers who frequent this bathroom. Except for me.

When I was a kid, my mum always told me off for using the "guest bathroom", the "guest soap" and the "guest hand towel". Perhaps that's why I take great pleasure these days in taking a dump in the "client bathroom".

That - and the fact that the regular bathrooms on each working floor are crowded, dirty and, unless you walk in within 30 seconds of the timed deodoriser spray doing its thing, unbearably pungent.

The good bathroom is much more peaceful. You can really get some good reviewing done. There's no-one rushing in and out or making noises in the stall next to you that sound like they swallowed a French Horn.

You can also spread out a whole file in the more spacious toilet stalls. Trust me - a Second Further Amended Statement of Claim will wedge nicely above the toilet paper holder.

I don't think any of this is going too far. With the constant pressure on junior lawyers to meet their billing targets, toilet time need not be dead time.

That said, the day someone takes a dictaphone into a toilet stall will be the day there's an undeniable need for a Legal Secretaries' Union.


Blogger the angry bee said...

my former boss went everywhere with his dictaphone...and yes, i believe he did actually go into the toilet with it from time to time...i don't think he would record anything in there, although you never know...

19 October, 2006 09:51  
Blogger Legal Eagle said...

When I worked as a corporate counsel, there was no need for time sheets, but the toilet on the Managing Director's level was superb...so I'd sneak up there as a treat at least once a week...

When I was pregnant, I got in trouble for "missing time" on my time sheets - they demanded to know how I'd been spending my time. On the next time sheet, I had noted down how much time I spent dry retching in the loo that day, and did so from that point onwards...

19 October, 2006 10:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this comment made me cry with laughter. i can appreciate it so well.

01 May, 2007 00:36  

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