Non fee earning responsibilities, what are they and why do they matter?


In a professional services environment such as a law firm, the primary metric upon which most individuals are measured is fee earning and as such, billable hours and financial performance tends to occupy most of our thoughts especially around review time.

Non fee earning responsibilities however are not insignificant and in a climate where there are no shortage of job opportunities it is imperative to add extra competencies to your repertoire of experience.

I talk about non fee earning responsibilities regularly as I feel they are a useful tool to highlight your commitment to your role and employer. Whilst financial targets are a constant, delivery of additional non targeted goals can strongly swing a recruitment process in your favour, or make you invaluable in your current role.

So onto the question, what constitutes a non fee earning responsibility? Effectively anything that you do which adds value but isn’t charged for (at least not straight away). Blogging for example, is a non fee earning responsibility in the sense that it raises profile but is rarely charged for.

Other important non fee earning responsibilities people take on are as follows:

  • Cost Saving

If you saw an opportunity to decrease the cost of an ongoing requirement then this is a strong competency to highlight. It is even more significant if you are looking to move from a professional services (fee earning) role into an in-house role where by and large you become an overhead that isn’t revenue generating.

  • Operational Improvements

If you identify ways to speed up processes, improve how services are provided or restructure existing resources so that they operate more efficiently you are demonstrating yourself as a proactive leader and giving yourself a strong platform to either negotiate internally or seek opportunity elsewhere.

  • Training & Mentoring

Passing on skills and experience that improves the quality of services of junior colleagues is the primary platform wherein most services environments grow and develop. Whilst many fee earners do this unconsciously, it is worth keeping a note of how you are bringing the firms overall skill set up by mentoring junior staff and preparing a competency to describe this.


Non fee earning responsibilities can effectively fall under many brackets not just the above mentioned examples. The most important thing is that you look at the situation before you took action, the tasks and actions you took on board and importantly the results, achievements and deliverables that your efforts created so that you can accurately paint a picture with future employers or at your next review.



Non fee earning responsibilities, what are they and why do they matter? ……………was written by Robert Connolly, Director Legal & Compliance.

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