What are lawyers worth?

By Nick Holmes on January 29, 2009
Comments Off on What are lawyers worth?
Filed under Billing

I’m following with interest the prolific debate on alternative billing. Read three in particular:

Moving to value billing from the comfort of the billable hour may not be easy, but it’s simple. As Ron says, Just do it!

I remain unclear on why sitting down with a customer to discuss value, define the success of your engagement, scope the work to be done, and put a price and payment terms on it is causing so much confusion. This is how every other business on the planet prices.

In this debate the following apocryphal story always springs to mind. A systems expert is called in to resolve a failure that is causing serious down-time. After investigating the problem for five minutes, he presses a button and it’s all systems go again. The client is delighted. Next day the client receives the expert’s bill for $1,000. “How can you possibly charge $1,000 for 5 minutes’ work”, they say. Next day they receive an amended bill. “For pressing button $5; for knowing which button to press $995”.