Don’t count the billable hour out just yet.

Many lawyers and commentators like to criticize the billable hour as the source of all legal woes — or at least work/life balance challenges.  There’s a certain appeal to the argument since, after all, the idea behind the billable hour is that experienced attorneys know more and are more skilled and therefore can accomplish more for a client in a shorter time; nevertheless, though efficiency may increase, the workload never decreases because the overworked attorney “must” bill 2000+++ hours whether his fee is $185 or $585 per hour.

But Patrick Lamb, author of In Search of Perfect Client Service, has decreed that reports of the demise of the billable hour are greatly exaggerated.  This follows a previous announcement of the death, based on comments made at the law Firm Leaders Conference in San Francisco.

Lamb and other bloggers (including Chris McKinney, Ed Poll, and Bob Sutton, among many others) have made numerous posts on why the billable hour may have outlived its usefulness.

And for the billable hour… Well… Any publicity is good publicity, at least for now.

1 reply
  1. Tracey Smith
    Tracey Smith says:

    I am not involved in the law, but found you on a search for people talking about the Work/Life Balance, so this is quite a sideways pitch…!

    I’m a writer/broadcaster on sustainable living and the W/L B runs through all my work. I recently shot a film giving a UK perspective on simple green living and keeping a hold on your priorities – if you’d like to view it, it’s at YouTube on

    I believe so many of our modern day problems are self induced from being seduced by our take-away, throw-away, uber-consumer lifestyle, full of credit being thrust upon us from every form of the media. It’s no wonder the kids of today think money really does appear from a hole in the wall. My solution is to embrace a bit of ‘living with less’.

    I apologise for taking this one ‘out of the field’, but hope it sparks some thought and energy on the subject.

    There was a survey done at the turn of the year, in around 40 countries. The question was, what are your wishes for the New Year. From memory, some 24 county respondants came back with the same answer, ‘For work to play a lesser role in their lives and to have more work/life balance’.

    Kind regards,

    Tracey Smith

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