From today’s American Lawyer:
Law firms have been calling for the end of the billable hour for decades. And since the 2008 recession, they have increasingly offered cost-conscious clients alternative fee arrangements.
Now Jackson Lewis says it wants to take the next step in the evolutionary process of alternative fee arrangements by eliminating the billable hour as an evaluative tool for its 293 associates. As of Jan. 1, associates at the labor and employment firm will be assessed on efficiency, client service, responsiveness, team-orientation and pro-bono commitment in an effort to align the way Jackson Lewis “deliver[s] legal services with clients’ needs,” according to firm chair Vincent Cino. (The firm’s compensation model for partners is based on revenue rather than hours.)
“The billable hour is directly opposed to the best interest of the client and to the provider of service because by its very nature it adds an artificial barrier to the accomplishment of the only real objective, which is a quality legal product for a set and expected price,” Cino says.
Whether you agree or not that the “billable hour is directly opposed to the best interest of the client” you have had to wonder, at some point in your career, “Well, how did we get here?”