For some time now, I’ve been a believer that the billable hour should be ditched as a means of pricing legal services. And many of my clients feel the same way. They tell me they’d love to move away from the billable hour. The thing is – it’s not an easy. True. But how many really worthwhile endeavors in life are easy?
If you’re considering a move away from the billable hour to value pricing or some other type of alternative fee agreement, read the article by Raymond E. Bayley in the current issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine: Balancing the Risks and Rewards of Alternative Fees. Bayley’s article is a primer on understanding the value of alternative fee agreements. “If done well,” Bayley says, “the client will always receive the best possible service at the lowest possible price and the law firm will always be able to maximize its profits.” Bravo!
If Bayley’s article gets you thinking, then the Self-Assessment Checklist, by Mark Robertson and Jim Calloway may get you moving. Robertson and Calloway are co-authors of Winning Alternatives to the Billable Hour. Their checklist will help you develop a clear understanding of what pricing methods would be most appropriate for your firm and your clients.
Once you have clarity around your objectives, you can begin to design alternative fee agreements for your firm. And remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You may want to experiment with alternative fee agreements in one area of your practice or with one or two clients to start. Take the first step by reading these articles. And don’t be afraid to make the leap. Now there are more resources than ever to help you make the transition.
So, are you ready to make the leap or have you already jumped? Post a comment. I’d love to know.