The quote that has stuck with me from the managing partner of a San Francisco law firm from two years ago is, “My clients don’t pay me $475 an hour to move semi-colons and commas around the page.” As a consumer of legal services, I agree!
My recent article in ALA Currents, How To Save One Full Day Each Week, explores ways that each of us can easily recapture 20% of our time that is wasted on the mundane, strictly ministerial task of committing our thoughts to paper. Twenty percent waste is a huge number; for an attorney billing $475 an hour, it’s pushing $200,000 a year. Wasted.
I know that comment will cause a reaction along the lines of, “The time I spend crafting documents is the very embodiment of my skill and value to my clients!” Actually, no it’s not. As Yoda might put it, “Typing, value not. Thinking so.”
For a professional, the doctors, lawyers, risk managers, financiers, appraisers, and others among us who make their contributions to society and earn their livings by thinking, to spend time repeatedly handcrafting the same documents day after day makes no more sense than… well, think of your own metaphor.