I met Matt Homann at last year’s TechShow, and he suggested that he’d be starting a weblog at some point. Fortunately for us, he has — The [non]billable hour.
He caught a great article in the New York Times about the perils of hourly billing in the legal profession. This isn’t a new topic for readers of this blog — I’ve harped on this countless times before — but it’s nice to see the issue get treatment from the Grey Lady herself.
Nevertheless, I don’t think that the issue is clear-cut big firm vs. small firm. The hourly rate culture pervades firms of all sizes. It’s the businessmen within those firms — whether you’re a sole practitioner (like Matt), a partner at a mid-sized firm (like Ernie) or a partner at one of the truly huge firms (like John) — that the right questions get asked.
Moral of the story: when talking to a lawyer, assume that the lawyer is smarter than you are on the law. Don’t assume they’re smarter at business than you. Maybe, maybe not.