Monday, October 08, 2007

A Trend in Billing?

Today's Boston Globe has an interesting piece about a Boston law firm that has kissed the infamous billable hour good-by, and is now charging clients flat rates for its services. The Shepherd Law Group is a five-lawyer firm whose home page states its philosophy about billing:

"Hourly billing rewards inefficiency and leads to surprises. That's why we don't do it. With Shepherd, you'll know the price beforehand."

Sounds very reasonable, but don't expect the billable hour to go away any time soon. Despite the fact that most lawyers hate it and that the ABA has urged law firms to develop alternatives, most firms continue to bill their time in billable hours because "the current system is entrenched in law firm culture. Many lawyers benefit handsomely from h ourly billing...And some clients are wary of trying a new system..." Jay Shepherd, the founder of the Shepherd Law Group, thinks that "other firms will be dragged along kicking and screaming" into the fixed-fee world. It will be interesting to see if law firms will change their practices if they see that they can charge fixed fees and still make money.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

The August, 2007 ABA Journal had a big angry looking clock on the front and the headline, The Billable Hour Must Die! See it at

There is a follow up, The Billable Hour Won't Die, at

Cheers, Betsy