A lawyer welcomes the client feedback
In-house lawyers want firms to move away from time-based billing and towards fixed fees, according to results so far in the RollOnFriday In-house Lawyer Survey.
"Move away from time billing model. It is outdated," said a GC in Private Equity. "Even if the client facing fee arrangement is not time based, internal evaluations at law firms are based on time spent which has bad knock on effects for clients.”
Another respondent agreed:“people talk about value billing but they always benchmark against time on the clock - a sort of reverse engineering." They added "I am wholly uninterested in how long things take, only how useful they are."
Respondents also wanted lawyers to provide accurate and prompt quotes. "Get your quotes right," said a senior in-house lawyer in financial services. "Stop hourly billing and start quoting for work as a project!"
A GC in the aviation sector said that upon asking a certain Magic Circle firm for a quote "on a fairly routine matter, they didn't come back for two weeks, and when they did were surprised we had gone elsewhere."
Many in-house lawyers felt that they were being overcharged. One respondent objected to a "penny-pinching" firm charging for time recorded by a "junior lawyer reviewing work by a trainee". The respondent said they "shouldn't be charged full-rate for a firm training and monitoring staff" as "that cost should be discounted by the firm."
Other lawyers felt that technology should help lawyers cut fees. A GC in a bank said “Electronic execution of documents is inevitable and necessary. It'll save time and costs."
Are you an in-house lawyer? Then please, take RollOnFriday's poll for in-house lawyers: