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Saying "bye-bye" to the billable hour

The billable hour is going out of fashion. Here's why...

The billable hour is going out of fashion.


Law firms usually charge by the hour for a piece of work meaning that it is often difficult to predict how much a client will have to spend. This often results in a hefty and surprising bill once the work is complete.


Technology is changing this. Legal start ups are now focusing their energies on digitial offerings including e-billing and online legal support. Thus cutting the time spent on a piece of work and simultaneously reducing the bill. Legal technology is following the progression of the convenience-craving consumer, looking always for how things can be done better, faster and cheaper.


New legal technology is being marketed with eye-catching slogans

“Free yourself from the office”

The traditional legal client is now more informed and putting more pressure on firms to explain what they are paying for and to provide clarity on pricing models. Hence, the world of legal technology is seeing rapid growth and gaining popularity amongst both the legal professional and the new age client. It is easy to see the appeal for digital methods of working with software being created for lawyers alongside the attractive tag line of "run a modern, effective practice" and "free yourself from the office".


The move away from the billable hour is welcome on both sides. Historically, the requirement to bill a certain amount of hours a month has resulted in increased pressure on legal professionals. The outcome being a dangerous culture of a work day that spans well into the night and spills into most weekends. A move toward fixed fees could re define the work culture within law firms and shine a positive light on the sometimes fusty legal profession.


As the technological revolution takes hold and begins to grip almost every area of professional life, it is only a matter of time before the billable hour gets a makeover too.



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