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:
- call the client, apologise and re-issue an invoice for the proper amount?
- apply the balance of $50,000 to your client’s account for future work which he or she shall no doubt need?
- spend the $50,000 on entertaining the client in anticipation of garnering even more future work?
- share the problem with your fellow partners?
- save your fellow partners the problem and pocket the difference?
- 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?”