News Tag: Billable hour


August 24, 2017

Put Yourself in Your Own Shoes—Part 2 (Where I Answer My Own Questions)

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.

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September 29, 2016

The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be

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.

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August 18, 2016

And the #1 Reason People Don’t Have a Lawyer When They Need One Is…

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 own

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April 19, 2016

The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working Anymore

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.

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March 23, 2016

The Billable Hour: Putting it Out to Pasture to Improve Access to Justice

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.

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