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Breaking the Billable Hour Mindset

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

One of our goals at Durant Barristers is to think outside the billable hour box.

Most law firms use the billable hour for everything: billing clients, tracking lawyer performance and deciding compensation. It is no wonder that in a event LinkedIn survey that I conducted more than half the respondents indicated that not having enough time has the biggest impact on their mental health.

It is really hard to give up on the billable hour. Especially when you’ve spent the last decade docketing every task that you have done. Even when pricing tasks on a flat fee basis, the usual starting point is thinking about how many hours the task is likely to take.

We are testing out alternative models for billing, although so far most clients seem most comfortable with the billable hour. It’s how they’ve always been billed and how their internal systems have been set up to evaluate lawyers and their accounts. I expect that it will be smaller, nimble organizations that embrace alternative structures in hopes of achieving predictable legal spend and increased proactive risk management. Time will tell.

We have a few billing structures and products that we are experimenting with that you may find interesting:

a) subscription based services: we offer a flat fee monthly subscription service for ongoing risk management and employee training. This option was developed with smaller organizations in mind to offer them ongoing updates on legal matters relevant to their business and to offer affordable training programs for their staff.

b) flat fee services: for almost all of our services we can offer flat fee legal services or flat fee for each stage of a matter. These flat fee options are discussed on a case by case basis depending on the complexity of the matter and resources required.

c) off the shelf training courses and resources: we are developing online courses that can be purchased for remote training of employees on important risk management topics such as workplace violence, harassment and sexual harassment. We are also able to develop customized online training specifically for your organization.

We would love the opportunity to work with clients interested in more predictable legal costs, less administration of accounts and better integration of external legal service providers into day to day risk management activities.

Erin Durant

Founder, Durant Barristers

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