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Unbillable Hours: A True Story

 
By Ian Graham

Kaplan Publishing (2010)

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.