Today’s New York Times takes notice of lawyers on the clock.
Among an all-star cast of quotes (including Evan Chesler of Cravath and Scott Turow of Sonnenschein), we hear from Frederick Krebs, president of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), talking about the Heller meltdown:
That collapse highlights the risk to law firms experimenting with other payment arrangements: If lawyers set too low a price, they lose money. Many lawyers may not be good enough businessmen to pick the right price, said Mr. Krebs, of the Association of Corporate Counsel.
â€œThe difficulty is, we donâ€™t really know what it costs us to do something,â€ he said. But the biggest stumbling block to alternative fee structures may be the managing partners at law firms, who will have to overhaul compensation structures to reward partners and associates for something other than taking a long time to do something.
“…we donâ€™t really know what it costs us to do something…”
Now there’s a point to ponder.
Another thing becomes a bit more clear, something any GC or client partner intuitively knows:
>> There is much to the “billable hour” than billing by the hour.
Instead of continuing on today, we will examine three parts of the puzzle next week, in multi-media fashion:
1. Monday: a short video on what the deflationary environment can mean for law firms.
2. Wednesday: another Off the Meter seminar, this one with Susan Hackett, GC of the ACC, about their Value Challenge (see my post immediately below to register).
3. Friday: a short podcast on why the billable hour will always be with us, but why it will likely matter less.
In my first post of 2009, I said that I would forego talking about the billable hour for a while in the new year. I lasted 17 days. About the same duration as a few of my other resolutions…