News Archive 2009-2018

Rethinking the Billable Hour (Politico) Archives


Some Washington, D.C., law firms are doing away with that mainstay of the legal profession, the billable hour. What  the decades-old dominant revenue model has had going for it is its measurability, though it has had its detractors, among them, of course, clients on the receiving end of a legal bill.

“Does this make any sense?” asked David B. Wilkins, professor of legal ethics and director of the program on the legal profession at Harvard, in a 2009 New York Times article. “It makes as much sense as any other kind of effort to measure your value by some kind of objective, extrinsic measure. Which is not much.”

Politico covers what it says is part of an emerging trend to stop the practice.

“This has the potential to be a real game breaker in law firm recruiting because it opens up a new vein of talented folks who have previously shunned law firms like a fruitcake at a Christmas buffet because of the billable hour,” says a headhunter in the piece. Read the Politico article.