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Interesting comments and articles.

While David G. definately has a point, and his view cannot be discounted, and while I also agree that we will not see a shift away from the billable hour soon, the billable hour is uniquely tyrannical in that it can be used to creat an artificial standard for lawyers. And this applies not just to young lawyers, but older ones as well. Destroying the billable hour, if that could be done, may help liberate the practice to be a profession, as it once was.

Al Nye

Yeoman, the only way I can see for the legal profession to abandon the billable hour is if there is a huge outcry from clients that it should go. Quite frankly, I don't see that happening.

The other option would be to pay for legal expenses through insurance the way that doctors are paid — but I don't see that coming any time soon either.

There are many good reasons to abandon the practice: it's just that none of them are major enough to change the status quo.



I agree. I can't see the clients or the insurance carriers doing that.

In part it's because there's alway the hope that the litigation will end early. I guess at one time it was common for lawyers just to quote a case. That is, they'd estimate the cost of covering it and quote that amount. The billable hour was actually regarded as a reform to that, as if a case was quoted high, and settled, it seemed unfair. I can't see us returning to that.

The local federal court here has a different spin on it. They don't think the billable hour is the problem, but lawyers handling too many cases. They set really short schedules to try to force lawyer to handle fewer cases, as your so busy trying to get the one handled.

I have to admit there's some logic to that. If more lawyers handled fewer cases, I think the cases would be handled better, and lawyer's lives would be less brutal, but then they may have added incentive to churn files.

Anyhow, I can't see any reform coming soon.

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