Durability of hourly billing: an article explaining why the old standby stands tall

The Siamese twin of outside-counsel cost management is alternative billing arrangements. No one can write a word about the former without bemoaning the latter, yet 90 percent of law firm invoices show hours worked multiplied by hourly rates.

For many reasons, this clash between concept (alternatives to hourly rate billing) and practice (billing by the hour) has continued for years, with the concept going down in flames. I wrote a piece as a member of the ABA Commission on the Billable Hour in 2004, and revised it recently for the New York State Bar Association’s law department newsletter. The piece explains hourly billing triumphant.

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