How to file 3 lawsuits an hour

The New York Times is reporting that the recession is causing a boom for some lawyers:

As millions of Americans have fallen behind on paying their bills, debt collection law firms have been clogging courtrooms with lawsuits seeking repayment.
Few have been as prolific as Cohen & Slamowitz, a Woodbury, N.Y., firm that has specialized in debt collection for nearly two decades. The firm has been filing roughly 80,000 lawsuits a year.
With just 14 lawyers on staff, that works out to more than 5,700 cases per lawyer.
While reporter Andrew Martin makes much of the shock value of the numbers and implies that there is no way such large-scale suing could be done responsibly, these numbers don’t strike me as inherently extreme.  While I am sure that abuse can and does happen in debt collection, consider the following:
  1. 5,700 cases per lawyer works out to just under 3 cases per billable hour (assuming a 2000-hour working year).
  2. Collecting a debt is not like proving that someone committed a crime.  It’s not like creditors have to prove to a jury that debtors owe money beyond a reasonable doubt.
  3. These lawyers are using automation software.
  4. These lawyers have a large support staff (who presumably handle most of the clerical work).

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