Personal Injury 2.0 RMD Attorneys’ High Tech Law Practice: After only three years in business, RMD Law has established itself as a ground-breaking... How to Protect Your Private Practice From a California Payroll Tax Audit: Did you know you can be held personally liable for payroll taxes if the California... California Case Summaries ADR™ Organized Succinct Summaries of New California Civil Cases: CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL - Arbitration - Uber Technologies v. Google (2018) _... Are You Suffering From Solo / Small Firm Imposter Syndrome?: Until recently, practicing law in the private realm pretty much came down to two... The Lateral Attorney Transition Two Tips To Make Your Next Hire a Good One: Anyone in the legal community knows that a popular method for growing business is to... 6 Reasons Why Content Is too Important for Lawyers to Write: Content is about the music, not the words. That’s why it is too important to be written... Amp up Your LinkedIn Profile With These 10 Tips for Lawyers: The new year is approaching fast and amidst the last-minute holiday shopping, you can be... Community News – December 2018: Keller/Anderle LLP, a nationally recognized bet-the-company business litigation firm... W.H.E.R.E. Core Values, Preparation and Experience Reign: The Law Offices of Babak “Bobby” Hashemi Use a Holistic Approach to Helping the... 5 Tips for Young Lawyers How to Find Your Way in a Crowded Arena: Young lawyers can face some uphill battles out of law school. The dream of defending the...
Executive Presentations-468x60-1

Death of the Billable Hour: A Eulogy

Last month, I participated on a panel at the 2016 Futures Conference. My assigned task was to discuss whether the billable hour would finally be dead by 2026. That got me thinking about the future event that would mark the passing of the billable hour as we know it. Would there be a final hourly invoice, billed and paid by a client, signifying the system's demise? Would there be a funeral for the billable hour? And if so, who would be there to eulogize it and what would that sound like?

The eulogy might sound something like this:

We are gathered here today to honor and pay our respects to William "Able" Hour, or "Bill" as many of us came to know him.
Bill Hour had a long career, providing many with joy and others with hand-wringing over the intended and unintended negative consequences he created. Bill would regularly and effortlessly put the client’s interests in conflict with those of lawyers.
He was very adept at hiding the true cost of a project and shunned providing clients with any level of predictability.
Bill Hour would take great pride in promoting redundancy and over-lawyering.
His knack for having clients pick up the tab for process inefficiencies, bill padding and training was unmatched.
I recall a time when Bill and I were returning from a client’s office. We had just landed a very important project, and I asked Bill if we should develop a budget, project plan or timeline that would identify key milestones. Bill assured me, with a wink and a smile, there was no need as he “had it covered.”

ALAS, THE DEATH OF THE BILLABLE HOUR IS NOT TO BE
I believe the billable hour will still be alive in 2026. How so? A few drivers are keeping the billable hour alive, including:

  • An unwillingness by some law firms (or partners within firms) to offer pricing alternatives.
  • A law firm dependence on billable hour targets.
  • Cost accounting that typically drives law firm profitability calculations.
  • Clients that are still more comfortable with billable hour arrangements.
  • Clients addicted to the billable hour data they mine internally or receive from their e-billing vendors, allowing for simple quantitative comparisons.
  • Sophisticated or complex legal work that warrants an hourly billing arrangement.

But there are some changes we should see over the next 10 years:

  • An increase in legal services and products as subscriptions.
  • Less emphasis on billable hour targets at firms.
  • Law firm business models that don't rely on the billable hour to calculate profitability.
  • A growing number of clients that favor outcome or valuebased metrics and rely less on some quantitative metrics like hourly billing rates.
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
www.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

Filed Under: Featured StoriesMarketing

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

  • Polls