At too many firms around the country, the primary roles of the first-year associate are pretty simple: Generate a significant number of billable hours and learn how to be a good lawyer. For this, associates are paid handsomely and expected to thrive. Unfortunately, these twin goals often are placed in direct conflict, and young lawyers tend to focus on the more tangible goal of billing hours. It would be far more beneficial to law firms to adopt an approach advocating a more balanced commitment to the billable hour dilemma, one that emphasizes both billable and nonbillable contributions.
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