Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 12


PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Tips, resources & inspiration for your practice

MAKING THE CASE FOR

ALTERNATIVE

BILLING MODELS
By Erika Winston

Hourly billing is a staple of the legal
profession. For generations, attorneys
have valued their services based on
increments of time. While most law
practices continue to embrace this
billing method, there is a growing
trend toward fixed pricing as
an alternative.
The move away from traditional
hourly billing relates to a number of
factors, says Michael E. Kondoudis, an
intellectual property attorney in
Washington, D.C. The billing tab of his
practice Website prominently states:
"We reject the premise that the best
way to arrive at prices for our services
is to use a time-based billing model
(time x hourly rate = price). Billing by
the hour tends to emphasize time
spent, not the value provided."
Kondoudis gives three reasons for his
dissatisfaction with hourly billing:
client uncertainty, inefficiency, and
misalignment of interests.

12

WASHINGTON LAWYER * JANUARY 2017 *

1. MINIMIZE CLIENT
UNCERTAINTY
Hourly billing creates unreasonable levels
of uncertainty for the client, Kondoudis
says. "We are in a service business, but
we seem to forget that it's
intimidating to visit a law office.
People are worried about the
billing." He compares it to taking
your car for service and leaving
with a much higher bill than
expected. "The ability to offer
upfront billing puts [clients] at ease."

2. SIMPLIFY BILL
MANAGEMENT

Michael E.
Kondoudis

Ease of use is another reason for
increased interest in fixed pricing. Many
attorneys find this billing system less
complicated to manage. Kondoudis says
flat-fee bills are easier for staff members to
generate and require less of an attorney's time for
proper review. "It becomes a time saver, and that's
important in a small or solo office like I have."

3. BETTER ALIGN
ATTORNEY-CLIENT INTERESTS
Kondoudis believes that fixed pricing better aligns the
interests of attorney and client. He says that,
fundamentally, hourly billing creates little incentive to
work in the most efficient manner. "The motivation, as
pure as the heart may be, is to bill time instead of the
result. This causes, at least theoretically, a conflict with
your client " he says.

Listen to LawPay's Claude Ducloux offer
tips on good billing habits at dcbar.org/
practice360.
Erika Winston, J.D., M.P.P., is a freelance contributor
to Washington Lawyer.


https://www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/practice-management-advisory-service/upload/Good-Billing-Habits.mp3 http://www.dcbar.org/practice60 http://www.dcbar.org/practice60 http://www.dcbar.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January 2017

Washington Lawyer - January 2017
Contents
Your Voice
From Our President
Our Membership
Career & Professional Development
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
Feature: An Inside Job
Feature: Investment Planning for Lawyers
Feature: Making the Virtual Leap
Feature: Lawyers Have Heart
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Partners' Perspective
Ask the Ethics Experts
Attorney Briefs
Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Washington Lawyer - January 2017
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Contents
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 4
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 7
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Our Membership
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 9
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: An Inside Job
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 20
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Investment Planning for Lawyers
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 24
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Making the Virtual Leap
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 28
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Lawyers Have Heart
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 32
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 35
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Partners' Perspective
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 45
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 47
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover4
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com