Unbillable Hours: A True Story

( 83 )

Overview

The story-part memoir, part hard-hitting expose-of a first-year law associate negotiating the arduous path through a system designed to break those who enter it before it makes them.
Landing a job at a prestigious L.A. law firm, complete with a six figure income, signaled the beginning of the good life for Ian Graham. But the harsh reality of life as an associate quickly became evident. The work was grueling and boring, the days were impossibly long, and Graham's sole purpose ...
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Overview

The story-part memoir, part hard-hitting expose-of a first-year law associate negotiating the arduous path through a system designed to break those who enter it before it makes them.
Landing a job at a prestigious L.A. law firm, complete with a six figure income, signaled the beginning of the good life for Ian Graham. But the harsh reality of life as an associate quickly became evident. The work was grueling and boring, the days were impossibly long, and Graham's sole purpose was to rack up billable hours. But when he took an unpaid pro bono case to escape the drudgery, Graham found the meaning in his work that he'd been looking for. As he worked to free Mario Rocha, a gifted young Latino who had been wrongly convicted at 16 and sentenced to life without parole, the shocking contrast between the greed and hypocrisy of law firm life and Mario's desperate struggle for freedom led Graham to look long and hard at his future as a corporate lawyer.

Clear-eyed and moving, written with the drama and speed of a John Grisham novel and the personal appeal of Scott Turow's account of his law school years, Unbillable Hours is an arresting personal story with implications for all of us.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780692214305
  • Publisher: Electric Avenue Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/25/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 549,110
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Graham is a lawyer and writer living in Los Angeles. After graduating from Rice University and the University of Texas Law School, he worked as an associate at the law firm of Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles. His work and that of others on behalf of Mario Rocha was featured in the award winning documentary film Mario's Story.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 I'm Going to Prison 1

2 Make Me an Offer 11

3 Welcome Back 31

4 Baby Sharks 41

5 Monkey Scribe 53

6 Murder in the Barrio 67

7 Dreams of Freedom 79

8 God Boxed Me In 91

9 Right to Counsel 105

10 Denied 113

11 You're Going to Save His Life 127

12 You'll Do Fine 137

13 Nice to Meet You 143

14 These Deficiencies Have Cost Me 153

15 Strike Two 169

16 As Good as It Gets 183

17 A Lengthy Process 197

18 What's This? 205

19 A Strongly Worded Decision 213

20 A Good Question 231

Postscript 239

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 83 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(37)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 84 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    A reluctant, but grateful reader

    I generally read fiction, but, handed an advance copy of this book by someone whose opinion I value, I decided to give it a try. I want to thank my friend for pushing me to read it. I got pulled into the story and it's characters by the author's narrative flow and easy wit. I actually laughed out loud in many places. Graham seems so typical of many well-to-do educated but unfocused college grads who go to law school for nothing better to do and get seduced by the money into high-paying firms where they face the real grind of earning that high paycheck. By taking a pro bono case as a reprieve from corporate cases, Graham gets pulled into a situation where his head must face his heart and he has to decide where his values lie. This case changes everything and we get to witness this life-changing process. It's extremely well done and thought provoking. Hats off to everyone who was part of this story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Fantastic true story that I could not put down!

    Golden handcuffs sealed the deal for me, personally. Although Ian did a great job of getting my attention in the first chapter, his reference to golden handcuffs around page 50 and his sense of impending (personal) doom kept me from putting this book down.

    Finding purpose in one's life is not easy. No one is taught in grade school, to find, seek and create a life filled with happiness. A lucky few figure out that lesson on their own. Others never get there. Unbillable Hours certainly illustrates the numerous methodologies society uses to imprison all of us, some more literally and severely than others.

    The strength that both Ian and Mario possess are enviable and almost overwhelming, especially Mario's. What a great story about two very courageous individuals! I hope life continues to shine fondly upon them and their well-deserved freedom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    Moving story

    I was handed an advance copy of this book by a friend in the publishing industry and I could not put it down. This is a very moving story with unforgettable lessons learned throughout the story. I would recommend this read to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A dramatic, funny page-turner

    I was given an advance copy of Unbillable Hours and I couldn't put it down. It's a true story that reads like novel--part crime-and-courtroom thriller, part expose of big law firm life, part coming-of-age story of a brash young lawyer's growing a conscience when given responsibility for an unpaid, life-or-death quest for justice. And it's laugh-out-loud funny. This is a story with legs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Couldn't Put it Down

    As a former big firm attorney/associate, I loved this book. I loved how the author intertwined his story of working as an associate and the compelling, incredible story of Mario Rocha. Haven't enjoyed a book this much in years.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2011

    Good Read - Something for Perspective

    The author does a great job embracing the reader and keeping the readers attention. A good weekend read.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    I really liked this book!

    It was great seeing the inside of a large law firm and what it is like for a new attorney. I loved the story about Mario too. Very uplifting!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2011

    Very good book

    Very good book. If you like John Grisham, you'll like this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2011

    An excellent read for any law student or lawyer hoping to make a difference

    As a third year law student - scarily approaching graduation - I was interested in getting an inside perspective of the Big Law experience. Ian Graham paints an endearing and truly believable picture of a top law student falling into the trap laid for such students for generations and "following the money" rather than any true passion for the law or serving a higher calling. His detailed description of the work he did on this unbelievable case, in sharp contrast to the irrelevant and oftentimes inhumane "billable hours", further helped to affirm my fears and dislike of the Big Law world and its priorities. A must read for anyone with any interest in what lawyers do - and the truly incredible, life altering work that so many do on a daily basis.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    Could not put it down

    definitely recommend this great true tale of the legal system and the people affected on all sides. it is interesting and well-written with a great human-interest angle. well worth your time

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Like pulling teeth

    The book started out light and interesting, but it quickly spiraled downward. Clearly, the author found the practice of law mundane. But did he really need to go into detail ad nauseum of his day-to-day legal tasks. We get it. It's boring! The book should have focused far more on the case at hand & not the drudgery of his life. I was exhausted just reading it. I only recommend this book to anybody who is thinking about entering into the practice of law, so they can evaluate the reality of the profession. If you're looking to buy a book about a wrongfully accused man, there are far better books available.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 7, 2011

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