The Billable Hour is “So Five Minutes Ago”!
For decades, attorneys have customarily billed clients “by the hour” and so, the first question I am often asked by a potential client is: “what is your hourly rate”? We are challenging the “billable hour” with our very own flat-rate legal services.
Despite the ubiquity of hourly billing in law offices across the nation, a small number of revolutionary firms are doing away with the billable hour model and introducing flat-rate or “up-front” billing. With this new concept, the cost of the project is discussed, negotiated and paid up front so that there are no misunderstandings or surprises experienced later when hours pile up and bills end up larger than expected, as might happen with the billable-hour model.
My own experiences with hourly billing have led me away from the billable hour and toward the up-front model of attorney billing. I believe that finances should never get in the way of a healthy attorney-client relationship and so the cost of representation should be discussed and taken care of up-front. With flat-rate billing, clients need not worry and watch the clock when calling or meeting with their lawyer but rather can ensure that all of their concerns and questions are addressed.
This firm will be now be offering exclusively up-front flat-rate legal services whenever possible. It’s the way of the future!
What do you think of the revolution? Should we kill the billable hour?