I have counseled against chargeback rates that differ for lawyers of the same department (See my post of May 14, 2006 which attacks multiple rates inside.). At the same time, I urge different billing rates for the same outside lawyer (See my posts of Jan. 13, 2006 and May 14, 2006 on rates according to value delivered.). Am I hopelessly self-contradictory?
I deny the charge! If differentiated billing rates more closely align the value of the work a lawyer performs to the value of that work to the client, then both inside and outside lawyers should employ multiple rates. The inside lawyer, for example, might charge more for time spent on quasi-legal services (See my posts of Sept. 10, 2005 and its discussion of such tasks; of July 21, 2005 with definitions; and Feb. 23, 2006 on how to find them.). The message to the consuming market is “Don’t use us for this lower-value drudgery!”
If it is fine for different lawyers at the same law firm to sport different rates, the same conclusion should apply with a company’s employed lawyers. What I opposed and what isn’t desirable is to allow internal clients to shop around for a bargain basement inside lawyer.