Busy, busy, busy. I know. I hate it when bloggers make excuses about why they haven't posted in a while. But we've been very busy at my firm lately. (So busy that I missed noting Gruntled Employee's first anniversary, September 28.) Why so busy?
Because we abandoned hourly billing.
In fact, during 2007, Shepherd Law Group has billed exactly 0.0 hours. And in doing so, we've more than doubled our revenue compared to last year. Clients don't really want to hear about our revenue, but if they think we're doing something to make less money, they immediately get suspicious. (Fear not, good clients. We're still capitalists.)
Our revenue growth comes from two sources: new clients fed up with the value-insensitive system of hourly billing, and increased efficiency driven by our flat-fee system. Our up-front pricing places our interests squarely aligned with our clients' interests, which makes them happy and forces us to be more efficient.
But don't take my word about it — I've already written many posts on the subject of hourly billing.
Instead, check out this article from today's Boston Globe. Sacha Pfeiffer, the Globe's world-class legal-business reporter, profiled our firm and its campaign to kill the billable hour. Whatever I could tell you, she says it better. And the article has kicked off a huge discussion. As of day's end, the story had been emailed via the Globe's site, Boston.com, 674 times (surprisingly, only once by me). That was more than four times more than the story of the Red Sox sweeping the Angels in the ALDS, and third-most for the past week.
In the blogosphere, people are discussing the article and the model. Here's a sample:
- Ron Baker's Verasage Institute, "Another Trailblazer: Shepherd Law Group"
- Susan Cartier Liebel's Build a Solo Practice, LLC, "The Billable Hour "Cockroach" is Being Snuffed Out....One Law Firm At a Time"
- Law School Dilettante, "I really shouldn't be thinking about jobs yet"
- Andrew Perlman, Legal Ethics Forum, "Billable Hours — A story and a question"
- Marie S. Newman, Out of the Jungle, "A trend in billing?"
- and, more acridly, Drew Curtis's news aggregator Fark.com with 122 comments and 10,135 clicks as of midnight.