Do attorneys have to maintain timekeeping records (or time sheets) for billable hours with start time and end time?
If yes, for how long do attorneys have to keep them?
You can request that a lawyer keep time with a starting time and an ending time, but there is no legal requirement that the lawyer keep his/her records that way, only to segregate the time spent on a project and the date and billing rate. There is no duty or minimum time to "keep" time sheets (the old name) unless they are the subject of litigation, such as the lawyer suing the client for fees.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts...
"Do attorneys have to keep timekeeping records with start time and end time?" No. In fact, I am not aware of any timekeeping program that records time in that fashion. Attorneys are not even required to keep contemporaneous time records, although I do and I believe most attorneys record time as services are performed, too.
Occasionally, when a given service also includes “no charge” time, such as a court appearance and meal with a client for purposes of client development, I will separate the time with beginning and ending times so it is clear to the client I have not charged for my time during the meal. However, if a client requested such records for all time entries, they would get walking papers: it would be too burdensome.
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No. There is no legal or ethical duty to keep those kinds of time records. It is not a common industry practice either. Accurate time records kept by attorneys almost never include the kind of time sheet information you are asking about. The VAST majority of attorney time keeping protocols and systems only record the amount of time spent for particular events, usually in increments of one-tenth of an hour.
Good luck to you.
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