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When the Billable Hour Backfires

We are all aware of the troubles that plague the attorney-client relationship when it is confined to the billable hour. From the unanticipated bills that tear into the pockets of those we serve, to the sheer confusion of clients as their budgets are eaten by phone calls, meetings and motions - but what about the strain that accrues to the paralegals and assistants who actually work in the office?

Rather than focus solely on their work, paralegals must constantly keep track of their time according to the tasks and cases that they are working on. Further, in order to bill within the amounts acceptable to the client, staffers must cram or shortchange tasks in order to avoid breaching previously set maximums. Than, if you are going to achieve the quality that the client deserves, oftentimes staffers have to put in the extra time - which in turn overloads the client. The reality of the billable hour is that puts the entire law firm at odds with their clients - the same ones they are supposed to be working with.

To achieve real profits, and create a prosperous practice, one must reconcile the firm and client so as to create a unified team that will be much better at accomplishing the unified goals of both. To leave the firm and client at odds is to seriously hamper your practice because of the strain that is placed upon both those who work for you and those you work for - a strain which can be alleviated with a better billing system.

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