Clients have increasingly begun to complain about lawyers billing them for time spent playing the popular online Scrabble game “Words with Friends.” In a recent case, a law firm billed a corporate client more than $12,000 for 78 separate billing entries related to the game, including one with the notation “Awesome! Played the word QA on a triple letter score to win the game!”
It’s not clear if lawyers are allowing their associates to bill for time playing the game or whether it represents a growing trend in overly lax billing procedures. Whatever the cause, law firms are now cracking down on associates and partners playing the game, limiting online game time to between 12 and 3 in the afternoon. One partner at a large Boston firm, who requested that his name not be used, said Words with Friends “actually helps build team morale and gets the client better results. In fact, I used ‘lagotic’ in a brief the other day, having learned the word in a game with one of my colleagues.”
Words with Friends is almost identical to Scrabble and played online by more than 30 trillion people worldwide.