Few topics make for a more heated discussion than the billable hour. The concept is under pressure, and it will become increasingly hard for law firms to stay ahead of the race by only billing by the hour.
The system feels outdated, and it doesn’t challenge law firms to cultivate a competitive advantage or price based on offered value (speed, specific expertise, the commercial value of the contract, etc.). However, moving away from this way of working is not apparent: billing by the hour ensures no surprises for the lawyers, in case the scope changes. For the clients, on the other hand, the billable hour feels uncomfortable and sometimes like writing a blank cheque. They don’t necessarily want it dirt cheap, they want predictability and budget forecasting. And if the discussion wasn’t complex enough, adding technology to the mix might be the icing on the cake. The type of legal work changes under the influence of legal tech. So that made us wonder: are there hybrid possibilities? And do we leave it up to the client to choose what kind of pricing she prefers – by the hour, hybrid or value-based?
From “the billable hour is here to stay” to “change is hard, but it’s coming” – eight experts cover the full range of opinions on where the billable hour currently stands and its prospects for future survival.
You can read the full report here.