Billable Hour Reform and You

By Neetal Parekh on September 25, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Before applying to law school everyone tried to scare you about the LSAT. And then you took it.  Before starting law school everyone tried to scare you about the Socratic method.  And then you experienced it.  Before your first law job everyone is trying to scare you about the billable hour.  And now...

Well, now the model might be on the verge of changing.

Whether you find yourself anticipating the life of budding law firm associate or are already deep in its trenches, you should know that one of the defining walls of the law firm industry may be experiencing a few cracks in is foundation.  Yes, the billable hour. 

It is thought that the concept of the billable hour is a mere fifty years old, a sapling considering the extensive tenure of the legal profession.  And its discovery has been credited to a Harvard professor as a way to ping legal work to respective legal client.  Oh the simplicity and ease.  However, as the field has evolved, the billable hour has also been on the move.  Unfortunately, it has moved all the way to #1 on the list of things that frustrate clients about working with attorneys.

Clients (and attorneys) often feel limited by constraints imposed by billable hours to explore the law in-depth and to receive answers to their questions and continue questioning from those answers. 

And now, in the time of online chat, streaming video capabilities, tweets, and webinars the legal industry is reconsidering how it can best meet the needs of its clients while also still earning its keep.  

So, if not billable hours, then what?  Don't look at us, you are the hotshot noveau talent in the field.  Innovate a better solution.  And then let us know, so we can blog about it.

Health care shouldn't be the only hot topic of reform, here's a petition for some billable hour reform face time too.  And respective colorful town hall meetings of course.

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