Not as obvious as you think: Ohio Lawyer Suspended for Billing More than 24 Hours in a Day

NOTE:  Normally I avoid wasting time with this kind of nonsense but for some reason I was moved to comment on this one…

OK, so big "news" this week is Ohio lawyer Kristin Ann Stahbush who has been suspended for billing more than 24 hours a day on three separate occasions.   The Ohio Supreme Court said Stahlbush failed to keep adequate records of the hours
she worked, submitted inflated fee requests, and sometimes “merely
guessed at the time she had spent on a case.” She had no prior
discipline, however, and was known as a competent and hardworking
lawyer.  Result: 2 year suspension.

If you want to know why I am very selective as to the lawyers I admit into my coaching groups (and why I encourage all my Members to be very selective as to which and what kind of lawyers you expose yourself to) all you have to do is look through the list of self-righteous commentary & "analysis" which follows the above story and mostly misses the point. 

To spare you the trouble of sifting through all that "noise" I've cut to the chase for you below and copied what I posted there for your direct consideration. 

Comment by RJon Robins:

Let's all stop making Ms. Stahlbush the butt of all these jokes and recognize that her predicament does not appear to be entirely of her own doing.   Here's what I mean…

The Ohio Disciplinary Committee did not revoke her license, they merely suspended it.  Presumably this is because they determined that the mistakes were not intentional.  So let's not just write Ms. Stahlbush off as a "bad lawyer".

The sad fact of the matter is that law schools do a generally poor job of preparing graduates to deal with the practical realities of managing the business-side of a law firm.  And there are very few CLE programs offered which focus on the practical realities of managing a law firm in the real world.

That is a world which exists with a hundred different demands, distractions & demands that a solo lawyer or owner of a small law firm function as both an effective advocate, counselor & adviser AND ALSO an effective owner, operator and manager of their business too.

Florida was the first State in the Country to create a formal Law Office Management Assistance Service program as both a benefit to Members and to prevent practice management related disciplinary complaints.  Perhaps if Ms. Stahlbush had been properly trained to start,, effectively manage and even profitably market her law firm this situation could have been avoided.

"Because Happy  Lawyer Make More Money"

p.s. Lawyers who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.  Think about how many hours you've invested learning how to be the best lawyer you can be, and compare that number to the hours you've invested learning how to be the best manager/operator of your law firm's business that you can be.  The difference between those two numbers is how much room for improvement there is likely in your own practice