If you won’t take my word for it, take the word of the increasing number of firms that have made or are making the transition to becoming a Firm of the Future. Many of them are now very public about their move and are reaping the rewards and competitive advantages that come to any early adopters. They say the advantages to their clients include greater price certainty and piece of mind, improved relationships and communication, and sharing of risk. The firms themselves all say their culture, especially in terms of supporting teamwork and collaboration, has improved, there is less hoarding of work by individuals, and they have happier, more creative and productive teams of knowledge workers released from the shackles of timesheets. Increased profitability is also cited as a benefit, as is the fact that clients who agree their fees upfront pay quicker.

The choice is yours and all I ask is that you use your enquiring legal minds and look at what moving to a timesheet-less practice can do for you, your practice and your clients, rather than coming up with all the reasons why the status quo should be preserved. There is plenty of information out there in the form of books, articles, online publications and forums for anyone seriously interested in making the change to a better way of practising.

Being a Firm of the Future is not just about moving away from time-based billing. Discovering your firm’s purpose; fostering a culture of innovation; better and more focused client selection; better project management; using leading indicators predictive of performance (instead of lagging retrospective metrics like KPIs); and eradication of annual performance appraisals, all go hand in hand with a timeless environment. All of this will be more attractive to our attorneys of the future.

Clients too now have an increasing array of choices, so next time a client comes to you and asks you, “How much is this going to cost me?” and you cannot answer them, do not be surprised if they go to an attorney who can.

BusinessJohn Chisholm