News Tag: Billable hour
May 23, 2019
Over the course of the past several months, I’ve used this blog to discuss four big issues our legal profession needs to address to carry out my 2019 Resolution: to tackle our affordability problem for everyday people. The common denominator on these issues is that the solutions to making legal services more affordable and accessible to the middle class are almost entirely within our power as a profession and court system.
To paraphrase a famous saying, we have met the enemy, and it is us. The following, interconnected action plan can help us defeat that enemy and strike a major blow for access to justice in the process.Tags: Billable hour | Courts | Future of the Profession | Pricing | Technology read more ...
February 27, 2019
It seems a simple question to ask, but one we do not think enough about in law and too often answer incorrectly. Getting that answer right is the first essential step towards carrying out my New
Year’s Resolution for 2019 for the legal profession to tackle our affordability problem for everyday people.
Two recent commentaries in the New York Times and the Atlantic challenge us to re-examine our profession’s longstanding assumptions on this question, and offer a good jumping off point for discussion.Tags: Billable hour | Future of the Profession | JEP | Legal Innovation | Limited Scope read more ...
November 5, 2018
The billable hour is dead! You’ve likely seen this headline a time or two over the past couple of years, and for good reason. As CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves pointed out in his 2016 blog post on pricing, we’ve largely priced the proverbial regular guy, and even ourselves sometimes, out of the market for […]Tags: Billable hour | CBF 70th Anniversary | Future of the Profession | JEP | Resources read more ...
February 23, 2018
The billable hour continues to be a significant and self-inflicted barrier to access to justice. Whatever its merits may be in the corporate market, for low and moderate-income individuals and small businesses the billable hour makes legal services less affordable and accessible because it lacks transparency and certainty and misaligns incentives for efficiency, innovation, and value.
Albert Einstein said If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend the first 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes finding the solution. Here are my top 10 reasons the billable hour is a problem for access to justice.Tags: Billable hour | Legal Innovation read more ...
August 24, 2017
In my June post, I suggested we should look at our profession and the market for legal services by putting ourselves in our own shoes when we look for other professional services. So what does that look like? I raised the questions in June. Now I’ll give my best shot at answering them.Tags: Billable hour | Future of the Profession | Legal Innovation read more ...
September 29, 2016
The legendary Yogi Berra was the source of so many great quotes that they became the source for a whole book, and his quote about the future is a very fitting title for my concluding post in the legal future series I kicked off back in January.
When it comes to the legal profession and access to justice, the future surely does look a lot different than it would have even a few years ago, and that is largely a good thing. While many of us face new professional challenges today that were not present ten years ago, we all have promising opportunities that could fundamentally change access to justice for the better while making for a happier, healthier and more effective legal profession for many years to come.
Another sports legend, Wayne Gretzky, offers us great advice as we look out towards that future: skate to where the puck is going, not where the puck has been.Tags: Billable hour | Future of the Profession read more ...
August 18, 2016
With children and young people everywhere getting ready to head back to school, I thought I’d start today’s post with a short pop quiz:
Name the #1 reason why people don’t use lawyers when they encounter a legal issue:
A. Believe it wouldn’t make any difference
B. Too expensive/can’t afford it
C. Don’t recognize a need for legal advice
D. Don’t know how or where to find one
E. Determined to handle it on their ownTags: Billable hour | Future of the Profession read more ...
April 19, 2016
This title phrase in some form or another has been used in a variety of contexts over the years as a call to action when longstanding business models fail to keep pace with changing times. I don’t know whether anyone has specifically called out our legal profession using that phrase, but it is only a matter of time. The fact is that a majority of people who need legal help believe that our services as lawyers are unaffordable and aren’t even coming to us when they encounter legal problems, and those are growing trends.
While there are a variety of causes for these unfortunate trends, three fundamental problems are our profession’s overall failure to recognize and leverage advances in technology, fully utilize new practice models, and improve our business processes. I say overall failure because there are some notable exceptions on all three of these fronts of lawyers who are showing the rest of us that it not only can be done, it can be done very successfully. Unfortunately, they remain the exceptions, and as a result increasing numbers of people are turning to others outside of our profession to solve their legal problems.
We can do something about this, and it starts with being open to doing things differently. In my last post, I talked about the importance of rethinking our pricing in the consumer and small business markets as a necessary first step towards delivering our services as efficiently and affordably as possible.Tags: Billable hour | Future of the Profession read more ...
March 23, 2016
While it’s been years in the making, with some notable exceptions our profession has managed over time to price the proverbial regular guy out of the market for legal services. It has reached the point that many lawyers will tell you only half-jokingly that even they could not afford their own services if they were to encounter a serious legal problem.
In part, this sad state of affairs is a reflection that in too many cases, our services as lawyers really have become too expensive for low and moderate income people who need them. It also is a reflection though that the market for legal services is largely opaque when it comes to pricing: people who might be able to afford the legal help they need often don’t even try to get a lawyer because they have no idea what it might cost.
These are problems largely of our own making, and the billable hour is a common denominator.Tags: Billable hour | Future of the Profession read more ...