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LexThink Attendees

LexThink To Do List: Create Billing Standard

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 :

  1. no charging for copies and long distance;
  2. no billing for  phone calls under 10 minutes (just the action items which come out of phone calls);
  3. 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);
  4. matching clients with billing structures which meet their needs (flat fee, contingency, value hour);
  5. working within a client approved budget;
  6. creating a documenting efficiency incentives;
  7. 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. 


John L. Davidson

no charging for copies and long distance

I am tempted to ask, have you ever worked on a real case, one with ten or more parties and 100,000 pages of primary documents. Every year or so I, as a sole practioner, do a mechanic's lien that may cost $5,000 for just one copy, but which may cost no more than $1,000 for me to prepare.

Clients pay costs because it is cheaper and more efficient


John: You observation is well taken. My post is really meant for the more mundane administrative tasks. Clients do not pay for copies because it is cheaper. Many firms charge for every copy, not just large unusual copy jobs. I have worked on scores of cases with 100,000+ documents. We find innovative ways to reduce copy or scanning charges where we can. But we never charge for routine copying, or long distance calls. If your hourly rate doesn't have that rolled in, then maybe you should consider it. Client’s pay (but hate to see) long distance charges on their bills, as well as standard copying charges. Law firms that realize this will have happier clients.

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