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Sometimes it may be appropriate to ask law firms to bill on a daily or half-daily rate

A recent study, prepared by Commerce & Industry (C&I) and BDO Stoy Hayward, offers many ideas about hourly billing (See my posts of Nov. 11, 2007 for two comments on the study; and Nov. 13, 2007 for two more posts; and Nov. 23, 2007 for a fifth.). Let me advance another thought.

Apparently as a result of procurement’s involvement with outside counsel fees (See my post of Nov. 23, 2007 regarding procurement and coaching.), “Dell asks some law firms to bill on a daily or half-daily rate rather than by the hour for some of their work.”

As an explanation why per-diem billing sometimes is more attractive than hourly billing, a Dell lawyer said that such an arrangement can “offer better value” and be “more familiar in terms of structure and content” to people who are accustomed to that method. In other words, clients more commonly pay per diem or half day rates to their service providers, so they more readily understand and can evaluate legal fees when outside counsel bill by the same periods.