I think everyone at LexThink agreed that the current hourly billing model needs substantial reform. One thing that I want to see happen is for the LexThink group is to agree on a set of principles which we can subscribe to which formalizes new billing concepts and guidelines. These are simple practical things such as :
- no charging for copies and long distance;
- no billing for phone calls under 10 minutes (just the action items which come out of phone calls);
- the difficulty of the task determines the fee rate, not the lawyer who happens to be assigned (thereby pushing easy stuff down to lower billing rate);
- matching clients with billing structures which meet their needs (flat fee, contingency, value hour);
- working within a client approved budget;
- creating a documenting efficiency incentives;
- the lawyer should take on some level of risk with each project.
This is an outcome I hope to work on over the next year.