I cannot implore you to become a Firm of the Future because all your competitors have ditched timesheets and hourly-based billing and if you do not you are going to be left behind – that is far from the case. In the majority of law firms in the western world, especially at the mid to large firm level, the primary basis of pricing legal services, measuring and compensating partners and employees, is still based solely on time.

But that does not make it right.

Slowly but surely the legal world is changing. Ten years ago I and others were explaining to firms why they should move away from time-based billing; now we are assisting them in how to make that move.

You can choose to adopt the ostrich pose and ignore this trend or you can look at ways you can adopt fixed-fee or value-based pricing.

I know some of you will convince yourselves that your clients are happy with being billed by time, but I have the opportunity to meet with many clients of law firms and invariably the majority tell me the same thing – they would much prefer the certainty of agreeing their fees in advance to the uncertainty of hourly rates, ranges or estimates that invariably change.

As stated previously, pricing your services upfront, according to the value you are providing to your client, not on the time spent on a matter nor how many emails you send or phone calls you make, is a much better way to practice law.

And, as all value is subjective, it is your client’s perception of value that is paramount. If your client perceives they have received value, then they have.

Equally, the reverse is true. If your client does not understand the value you have provided to them, whose fault is that?

BusinessJohn Chisholm