In earlier posts I have talked about hourly billing and how it is bad for clients and lawyers, and how small firms can take advantage of alternative fee arrangements (here and here).
Ran across an interesting slant on the billable hour issue on The Greatest American Lawyer blog. The premise is that the hourly billing system is based on trust, and I must say that I hadn’t focused on that angle before, even though it is so obvious. From the client’s perspective, that is exactly what is going on, as in
“You can’t tell me how much my legal issue will cost me, but you will charge me by the hour (billing periodically) until the task is completed at some unknown point in the future, hopefully with a favorable result.”
That’s about it, right? There is a whole lot of trust wrapped up in that statement I would say. I really believe trust is warranted in the majority of cases. However, how much better would the client feel if they KNEW what their legal matter would cost them, or at least a range. Having been on both sides, I can tell you how I felt when I was the client subject to hourly billing, and I didn’t like it.
How do you think you would feel? Maybe it is time to consider alternative billing for your clients.