Friday, April 29, 2011

Please, people, let's be civil. Everyone will have a chance to speak.

Peter Slattery's "The time-based billing debate is not a matter of good versus evil" in The Australian. Slattery is the managing partner of a five-office Australian firm, so you might expect that he'd be in favor of the old-school approach to billing clients. But what might appear at first glance to be an apologia of the heavy-handed tactics of hourly billing turns out to be a call for reason and temperance in the billing debate. Sure, it's easy to mock the billable hour as an outdated vestige of a soon-to-be-irrelevant past, just as it's equally easy to discount alternative fees because clients haven't embraced them or because they're very hard to get right or because some clients will abuse them. But that's not going to help the client, is it? Value-billing, the real kind, is probably a little more complicated than "not this" or "not that." We've known all along that there are two sides to the billing story. Slattery's post makes it clear that they're both right. Now what are you going to do?

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