We’ve all probably heard the joke about the lawyer that dies, goes up to heaven, and sees St. Peter at the pearly gates. St. Peter looks the lawyer up and down, then says: “There must be some mistake, you look far too young. According to your billable hour log, you should be 172 years old.”
Traveling for work can have its perks, unfortunately those perks don’t include double billing, or even being able to bill your clients for first class plane tickets. That whole fiduciary duty thing can really put a damper on traveling in style.
Below, you’ll find three tips to help lawyer while on the road, rail, or in the friendly skies.
1. Be a Passenger
It may sound a bit odd, but traveling by train is a great way to not just see the country, but also to get stuff done. Commuters that take rapid transit trains, other public transportation, are able to work while on their way to work. Simply put, being a passenger means you can get stuff done. If you’re billing rate is high enough, you might even be able to justify a private driver.
And, if you have long trip, you can take a long haul train and be trapped in a metal box for at least an hour or two, or maybe a couple days. If you can avoid those addictive smart phone games, you can get a whole lot of reading, research, and even writing done, while getting to your destination.
2. Bill Smart, Not Twice
Time only exists once. Billing more than one client for the same literal piece of time raises all sorts of ethical red flags in addition to the quantum metaphysical conundrum doing so presents.
If you’re taking the train to a courthouse, or for some other obligation on behalf of a client, you may be able to bill the client for your travel time. However, if you are working on another client’s case while on a train, rather than shooting angry birds at bad pigs, you can’t bill that same time as travel time to another client.
Also, being a passenger can be much cheaper for your clients, especially if you actually spend your travel time doing case work. If you’re driving, unless you spend the entire time on the phone (which probably isn’t safe), you’re client will have to foot the bill for the travel time without any actual work getting done.
3. Get Your Own Internet Connection
Cyber security is important, as is access to email, online research, and the cloud. Public WiFi, and even the not-free variety, is not very secure, and is known for spotty consistency. Getting a portable WiFi hotspot is a game changer.
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