An article in the Houston Chronicle today details the trials of “cub lawyers” in their quest to work fewer hours, attempting to have a better work-life balance.
The columnist, Mary Flood, does a great job describing the problem, but she does not address the cause which is the billable hour itself. Perhaps this was beyond the scope of her story.
I quite enjoyed the following paragraph:
“I like the idea,” said Lynne Liberato, a partner at Haynes and Boone. “Paying less for fewer hours worked sounds great in theory, but if they don’t do the work, who is going to do it?” Liberato noted that even if law firms try to change things, it’s clients who demand billable hours and judges who dictate the sometimes onerous schedules.
Two things jump out at me. First, Lynne asks “Who is going to do the work?” This is LOL funny! Who indeed! Lynne believes it is her right to demand the hours for new associates. What rubbish! Second, “it’s the clients who demand billable hours.” Could she be more wrong? No client has ever demanded hours. Clients want results, hours are effects.
It is time for all professionals, lawyers, accountants, technology providers to wake up. It is past time to realize the billable hour is what is killing your companies.
What say you?