For about 50 years now, the billable hour has been the dominant feature of the legal profession. And for just as long, lawyers have been trying to kill it. Aggressive auditing by clients and a growing recognition of defects inherent in the system have led many inside and outside the profession to ask some simple but profound questions: What is it exactly that lawyers are selling to clients? And isn't there a better way to measure that value than by watching a clock?
The article includes a very interesting description of how the billable hour came to dominate the practice of law in the first place. (It kind of reminded me of an excellent recent NPR piece on the rise of lobotomies in psychiatric medicine at about the same time . . . .) Details here from The American Lawyer via Law.com.