The legal industry faces a number of issues and challenges—including its own billing system, which is hourly based. Most law firms use hourly billing, and this system unfairly rewards inefficient work practices. When you consider that the average hourly rate for a lawyer in the U.S. is $540, it becomes clear that clients just can’t afford to pay for inefficient lawyers.
Another problem with the current billing system is that it places incredible pressure on lawyers to meet quotas—this creates a highly stressful working environment for lawyers. Today’s average billable hour requirement for firms is 1,800 yearly billable hours per lawyer. It used to be 1,300 in the 1950s, as recommended by the American Bar Association. Also, should a lawyer be promoted based on his or her skill—or should promotions be based on the billable hours he or she is able to log?
Transitioning to fixed fee billing where the lawyer and client agree upon a price before representation begins would solve many of these problems that exist in the legal profession. Since the industry is so fixed in its ways, actually transitioning to this would be a huge challenge. To learn more, check out the infographic below presented by San Diego Law Firm.