According to this article in the recent edition of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Ford & Harrison has decided to stop billing for first year associate work –

C. Lash Harrison said his law firm received four letters last year from Fortune 500 companies, stating that they would no longer pay for first-year associates on their cases.

Harrison could see the trend: four turns into 40 the next year and 400 the year after that. So rather than fight it, the managing partner of Ford & Harrison LLP came up with a revolutionary approach.

Starting with its new first-year class last September, the Atlanta-based, 200-attorney labor and employment firm has eliminated its billable hour requirement for first-year associates.

Could this become a trend that finds its way into an analysis of fee applications in Bankruptcy Court?   Is it reasonable to assume that if other large companies put pressure on large law firms to follow Ford & Harrison’s lead, thus leading to a change in the standard practice, objections to fee applications may follow where the billing firms include first year billing?