Posts Categorized: Billing

The legacy of work-life balance

Posted by & filed under Big Firms, Billing, New Lawyers, Purpose, Satisfaction, Talent.

I think we’ll soon be closing the book on one of the legal profession’s most-used and least-understood phrases of the last decade: “work-life balance.” It was still all the rage just a couple of years ago — new lawyers invoked it as a mantra, talent recruiters bandied it about, and many legal publications (including those… Read more »

Renovating or tearing down?

Posted by & filed under Big Firms, Billing, Innovation.

I grew up in a small city of about 80,000 and went to law school in a similarly sized town, so my first experience of a major metropolitan center was when I began working in downtown Toronto. I remember being a little overwhelmed by the massive bank towers in the financial district — not a… Read more »

The failure of billable-hour compensation

Posted by & filed under Billing, Compensation.

Two ugly stories from the mainstream legal media at least give us the opportunity to consider an under-publicized way in which the billable hour poisons the profession. First is this National Law Journal article about how law firms are responding to the recession (short answer: myopically). Among other things, firms are laying off staff and… Read more »

Decoupling price from cost in legal services

Posted by & filed under Billing, Competition, Technology.

Virtually all the talk these days in client circles is about the cost of legal services. It’s well established that institutional purchasers of these services are under great pressure to reduce costs by, for example, “taking bids, asking for discounts, shopping around for lower-cost options.” Patrick J. Lamb points out that many in-house lawyers don’t… Read more »

Never mind the billables

Posted by & filed under Billing.

Steve Matthews of Stem Legal has a thoughtful post at Slaw that talks about The Economist‘s recent article on the demise of billable hours. As Steve points out, focusing on how a law firm bills its services obscures the more fundamental conversations around value and cost that are needed to frame the process of negotiating… Read more »

Capped fees, limited innovation

Posted by & filed under Billing, Innovation.

To the well-known list of companies that have consolidated their roster of outside counsel to one firm (DuPont, Tyco, and Linde, most prominently), you can now add Pfizer, which Corporate Counsel magazine reports has given all its employment litigation work to Jackson Lewis and its 500 lawyers across the US. But this one comes with… Read more »

The new brand landscape for law firms

Posted by & filed under Billing, Clients, Marketing.

I received a package the other day from a prominent law firm announcing a rebranding, which seemed to consist of a shorter name and a clever new logo. There didn’t seem to be anything otherwise new or different about the firm, so the brochure went straight into the blue box. But I was reminded of… Read more »

You can’t charge for that anymore

Posted by & filed under Billing, Clients, Innovation, Technology.

There’s a process revolution underway in the legal marketplace, and yesterday brought two more reports of cannon fire. The ABA Journal published a primer (HT to Legal Blog Watch) by Boston lawyer Jay Shepherd on how to establish a flat-fee billing system. It’s not an airy, wouldn’t-it-be-nice piece; it’s a practical guide borne of his… Read more »

The danger of discounted rates

Posted by & filed under Billing, Clients.

At the risk of being mistaken for an Ayn Rand devotee, one of my favourite moments in The Incredibles comes when Helen (Elastigirl) is admonishing her son Dash, who’s upset because he’s not allowed to use the super-speed that makes him special. “Everyone’s special, Dash,” says Helen, to which Dash mutters under his breath: “That’s… Read more »

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