Slide 1

In the wake of recent ethical scandals, many of which originated in Texas, the State Bar of Texas has taken the matter seriously enough to introduce a new question to its qualifying examination:

“As a new partner in a firm, you have just sent an invoice for $100,000 to a client when you suddenly realise that, according to the time expended, it should only have been a bill of $50,000. Do you:

  1. call the client, apologise and re-issue an invoice for the proper amount?
  2. apply the balance of $50,000 to your client’s account for future work which he or she shall no doubt need?
  3. spend the $50,000 on entertaining the client in anticipation of garnering even more future work?
  4. share the problem with your fellow partners?
  5. save your fellow partners the problem and pocket the difference?
  6. think on the problem for the requisite number of hours, noticeably on weekends, whereby $50,000 will, by the magic of hourly rates accrual (ask a Texas accountant), disappear, while your utilisation, through the magic of billable hours, will augment as your golf handicap diminishes?

Which of the above is the wrong answer?”