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Getting Credit for Originating a Matter

Who Should Serve as Billing Partner for a New Matter from an Existing Client?

By Joel Rose

This article responds to an inquiry from a partner in a law firm who felt she was treated unfairly because she deserved to be designated Billing Partner for a new client matter she originated from a firm client that was originated by another partner. This was an especially important issue for this partner because the designation "Billing Attorney" is an important criterion in her firm's compensation system.

The partner who receives the call from a new client and who will perform or supervise the performance of the work on that file may be the most appropriate person to serve as the Billing Partner. However, the decision may not be as clear-cut when a firm has a team-oriented approach to business development and client service efforts.

Existing Client

Typically, an attorney who "gets the call" on a new matter from an existing client should, as a courtesy, confer with the partner who has served as Billing Partner before opening the matter. If the partner who has primarily served as Billing Partner is continuing to fulfill the Billing Partner's responsibilities, he or she should usually be the Billing Partner for the new matter, absent any circumstances which might dictate otherwise.

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