Ron Baker was true to his words last August when he said " I will return" to continue hammering nails into the billable hour coffin. Given Ron's sessions and presentations last August were "sellouts" Ron returns to Australia for a couple of weeks from 17 February.
Ron is the Key Note Speaker at the 3rd Annual Managing Partners Conference being held at Sanctuary Cove 19-20 Feb speaking on Firm Of The Future www.chillimarketing.com.au/file_download/133
After some presentations in Brisbane he and I head to Perth on 24 Feb for similar exercises before heading back east to Melbourne and Sydney first week in March.
Ron is not doing many "public" seminars this time around although he will presenting at a breakfast seminar for ALPMA members on Tuesday 2nd March in Melbourne on "Implementing Value Pricing In Your Firm" . For further details go to:
In addition to working with some firms and some corporations Ron will also be meeting with some of our regulators,judiciary and policy makers principally to discuss the vexed issue of legal costs given the current COAG National Legal Profession Reform and the shortly to be released draft Model Rules on Legal Costs.
If you would like to catch up with Ron whilst he is out here let me know!
Last 2 or 3 months there has certainly been alot written in the legal press and on various blog sites on alternative pricing in Australia (not all by me!) for instance in December ACLA Journal, Lawyers Weekly and The New Lawyer with most authors and damning the billable hour but the odd article whilst not so much praising the billable hour but pleading a case for the retention and benefits of timesheets. If you are not going to bill your client by the hour why you would retain timesheets is beyond me?-there are much better and more effective ways of knowing what you or your team did during the day,and how valuable and important it was than filling out 6 minute units of time.
Notwithstanding some in the professions in Australia who thought that, because we have not suffered the same meltdown that affected our brethren in other countries where the impact of the GFC was much more severe, business life could return to "normal",I doubt this will be the case- especially with our pricing practices.
As I have reported previously nearly every professional services firm has as part of their client service offering some form of ABA ("alternative pricing arrangement") albeit many firms offer it reluctantly and hence they are often not good at their pricing. Who is? Unlike the rest of the business world pricing was not something most of us lawyers and accountants were taught nor did we have to be good at under a time based billing model.
Now more and more clients want to know and are entitled to know "what's this going to cost me?". They will no longer accept a blank look or the usual retort "sorry would love to tell you but I can't-depends how long this is going to take me". More and more clients wont accept just being told what our hourly rate is nor even accept fluffy "estimates" nor "ranges"( no matter how well intentioned)-and why should they?- we don't when we purchase a product or a service!
For one of the best short and succinct articles explaining why time based billing is just plain dumb go to this article by Melbourne lawyer David Windsor (love David's 6 goals);http://static.rbi.com.au/Common/ContentManagement/newlaw/PDF/20100205.pdf
Of course the billable hour is nowhere near dead-but it just might be fun burying it alive! tap,tap,tap.