Die Billable Hour Die
The Atlanta law firm Ford & Harrison, with 190 lawyers, is abolishing billable hour requirments for its first- year associates. Instead the associates will spend much of their first year observing experienced lawyers while developing practical legal skills- in a manner modeled after the meical school approach to training.
A courageous first step? Yes. A move that is long,long, overdue for all lawyers? Undoubtedly. For the plain truth is that the billable hour encourages inefficiency and rewards dishonesty. Any lawyer, first year or managing partner, faced with the task of supporting law firm economics one hour at a time, will find herself engaged in mental jujitsu at the end of every day.
The premise of this blog is that the internet has fundamentally changed the nature of information. No longer can lawyers depend on a specialized vocabulary and a book of forms to render services in some mysterious manner.