“We reject as false the choice between profitmaking versus flexibility in billing and sensitivity to client cost.”
Our Approach to the Profession
Certain aspects of the private practice of law have become a source of chronic frustration for both clients and lawyers. Rare is the seminar on law practice management that does not harken back to the “good old days” when lawyering was more of a profession than a business, before the “tyranny of the billable hour.” Nonetheless, given the economic pressures faced by law firms, particularly in a down economy, it is difficult for lawyers to avert their eyes from the bottom line.
We seek a new approach. We reject as false the choice between profitmaking versus flexibility in billing and sensitivity to client cost. These objectives are consistent with, not antithetical to, one another. We believe in entrepreneurialism – we celebrate it and seek to be proponents of it. We seek to represent our clients aggressively, tirelessly and with zeal, because that is the hallmark of our profession. This, however, is not remotely inconsistent with good citizenship, sensitivity to environmental and other larger concerns, and promotion of corporate responsibility. In fact, these goals are entirely consistent with one another. Enlightened businesses in the United States are well ahead of the legal profession in acknowledging this reality. The legal profession can move in the same direction, not only by funding pro bono departments, but also in its approaches to billing, client representation and treatment of personnel.
We are a small firm. We are non-hierarchical. We do not reject clients because they cannot pay, or decline to pay, rigidly prescribed hourly rates. In fact, we do not engage in hourly billing. We keep a record of our hours and assign benchmark hourly rates to matters, but that is only our starting point in determining a client’s bill. We practice “value billing,” which we hope and expect means that clients pay a fair price each month for the services we render. This approach, we believe, rectifies inequities that are inherent in traditional hourly billing and allows us to adapt to the financial needs of our clients. We do not breathe down each other’s necks in evaluating our numbers of monthly or yearly billable hours. Our overhead is low, which allows us far greater flexibility in billing than firms with higher levels of fixed expenses, and permits representation of non-indemnified individuals as well as institutional entities.