When the Rubber Hits the Road

9,937.5 hours. This is certainly a number I won’t remember – in fact I spent the last few minutes with a calculator and calendar figuring out exactly what the number was. The biggest thing that is impressed upon new Rice Divorce Team clerks, runners, and interns is billing time. It makes sense, because none of us really know how to bill time when we start (I have solved a Rubik’s Cube faster than nailing this one down) and there are several underlying reasons for stressing its importance. It is the way lawyers get paid – if it’s not billed, it’s not on your check. It hits ethical rules attorneys must abide by – ever seen The Firm? Additionally, the clients, judges, and opposing attorneys will see what you billed and for how long.
This is all something Memphis Divorce and Family Attorney, Larry Rice, takes very seriously and wants to teach people to not just do right, but do well. In fact, every week Rice Divorce Team members get stamps (the rubber in the ink pad kind) in reference to their time slips. Larry Rice has several different stamps and each means something different. While I have yet to decipher the Rice Code, I equate them to the gold, silver, and red stars we all strived for as children. After all of this positive reinforcement – and many quarter-hours of guidance from the Rice Divorce Team’s unbelievably patient paralegals (thank you) – I have finally started thinking about time and tasks by the quarter-hour increment. Of course, this is just one more thing you don’t truly learn to do in law school.
So, one year, seven weeks, one and one-half hours after my first law school class began that this career choice started to come together for me. While attending a client strategy meeting last week, a Rice Divorce Team attorney said something that resonated from school. Not only had I heard it in class, I read about it for class. For the first time, something that I learned in law school was useful in the “real world!” My disagreement with the proposition on the table must have been obvious, as Larry Rice made a comment about “the clerk’s furrowed brow.” I found myself off the sideline and engaged in the lawyerly task of resolving a client issue. Rounded to the nearest quarter increment, hour 9,937.5 is when the rubber hit the road.

This blog is written by the law clerks and interns of the Rice Divorce Team. We document our experience working with Memphis Divorce Lawyer Larry Rice and Memphis Divorce Lawyer Nick Rice, as well as other members of the Rice Divorce Team. The Rice Divorce Team represents clients in Tennessee, including Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, Columbia, Johnson City, and Knoxville. We hope these blog posts will be interesting and show the evolution of students as they move towards being divorce and family lawyers and paralegals. The statements in these posts should not be used as legal advice about divorce or family law.

Trying to use the aboutdivorce.com website as a substitute for a lawyer potentially sets you up for a disaster of epic proportions.

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