The Billable Hour and the death of the soul

toon359Someone has recently penned an obituary for the billable hour. I’m a lawyer, and I cannot tell you how much I wish it were dead, but I have doubts that it will actually die any time soon. Most law firms are stuck in the outdated mentality that they can only bill in this one way. And it is this lack of creativity and foresight that makes the practice of law unbearable for many.

From a theological point of view–yes, we should have a theological view of this as we do with all things–the billable hour creates a perverse incentive for lawyers as human beings.

 In her article, Billable Hours and Ordinary Time (full article PDF here: billable-hours-and-ordinary-time), Cathleen Kaveny provides a damning theological discussion of the billable hour, essentially concluding that it is incompatible with a Catholic view of time and work. Continue reading “The Billable Hour and the death of the soul”

The journey of grace

Thomas Merton said in No Man is an Island that “We ought to stop taking our conscious plans and decisions with such infinite seriousness.” We all have plans in life, and that is admirable. Goals are important. As some say, though, to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. We need to realize that our ways are not always His ways, and to align them more and more with His will as we are able to discern it.

Today marks the beginning of a discernment period, asking God what is next in life. I feel that I am being called to something else, though I do not know what that might be. Only time will tell, but I intend to use that time wisely. To make sure that I am diligent in prayer and study so as to hear the Lord clearly when and where He calls.

It is always a good time to grow closer to God, and I encourage you to put forth additional effort in that regard. Wherever you are in the spiritual life, you can go deeper–you can listen more, respond more willingly, and find more joy. Embrace the uncertainty and let Him guide you.

Zero to One (Peter Thiel)


Many things have been written about Peter Thiel’s book, Zero to One, and I thought it was about time I should read it. Thiel is interesting because he and I have so many similarities: we both studied philosophy in college, we both went to law school, we both clerked for a judge, we both worked in a law firm, we are both chess masters, and we both went on to found a company and make billions of dollars. Ok, the last two are not true. I do love chess, but given the way I’m playing recently, the likelihood of me being a chess master is probably less than my likelihood of becoming a billionaire. Given our similarities, though, Peter Thiel has paved the way for me. Perhaps there is Thiel-like success in my future, too.

Thiel’s book, co-written with Blake Masters, is derived from notes that Masters took during a course that Thiel taught in 2012 at Stanford on startups. The title of the course, “Computer Science 183: Startup,” would not have convinced me to take it during law school. It may not even convince me today. But now I’m glad we have the book because Thiel’s wisdom can be spread to the hoi polloi that did not attend an obscure-sounding course at Stanford Law School in 2012. On to the book…

Continue reading “Zero to One (Peter Thiel)”