Blasphemy! I know it sounds crazy, but law firms and lawyers should realize that hourly billing is not always beneficial to the firm or to the client. And in order to shift away from thinking in terms of hours to thinking in terms of value, law firms must stop tracking time whenever possible.
Instead, you must find new ways to measure value.
For example, if it takes 12 hours to draft a contract for one client, but only 3 hours to polish it up for a second client, why would you bill each client by the hour? Considering the value received, the second client should pay more, not less, since you were able to deliver a superior product in less time.
Similarly, if you fight for two years to obtain a $1.5 million jury verdict for one client, and as a result are able to obtain a $1.5 million settlement fairly easily on a similar issue for a second client, which client has received the better value? The second, undoubtedly. Why, then, should the first client pay more?
When considering whether to accept a client, you should consider two things: (1) the value to the client of the requested work; and (2) the value to the firm of the requested work. Few law firms seem to acknowledge the second, but it is incredibly important.
Every client is an opportunity to bring value to the firm; value beyond the fee paid, in the form of institutional knowledge. Institutional knowledge may be reusable forms, more experienced litigation attorneys, impressive verdicts that make future settlements easier to obtain, and stronger client relationships.
Related: Moving Past the Billable Hour—How do you do it? | Legal Ease Blog