I believe that the billable hours system at law firms is
overcharging clients. There should be a
new system designed that includes flat rates so that clients from all economic
classes can have access to quality legal assistance. I believe that this would drastically improve
the reputation of the legal profession, and also make lawyers feel good about
My basic understandings of billable hours in a legal firm involve lawyers allocating set fractions of hours to different cases they may be working on. Let's assume for a moment that a particular firm uses quarter hours as the smallest unit for billing purpose and the general practice is rounding up to the nearest quarter hour. Lawyer Bob works on case A for 15 minutes, bills case A for 1/4 hour. He then works on case B for 35 minutes, so he bill case B for 3/4 hour 1/2 hour is too small. For the remaining 10 minutes of the hour, he goes back to working on case A, for which he bills another 1/4 hour. He has now worked one full hour of real time, but has billed 1.25 hours. This has the long-term effect of charging clients for more time that was actually worked. So I disagree with the statement.