Billable Hours Corrupt the Legal Profession

That is the not terribly surprising message delivered by the new President of the California Bar Association, Jeff Bleich, as reported in a piece recently published on the American Bar Association’s website. as you might recall (or more likely, do not) I wrote some time ago about my belief that the billable hour system ill serves clients. I heartily agree with Mr. Bleich’s conclusion – the billable hour rewards sloth and inefficiency, pits the lawyers interests against the client’s, and tempts lawyers to engage in dishonest, if not outright fraudulent billing practices. As I have written previously, I am a firm believer in fee arrangements that more closely align the lawyer’s and client’s interests. The billable hour is perhaps the least likely to accomplish that goal, and poorly serves the client, and the legal profession, to the lawyer’s reward. That is a poor basis for a fee arrangement.

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