Is the Billable Hour Mandate Holding Us Back? [Colorado Lawyer]

Featured in Colorado Lawyer

“The billable hour mandate has long been the cornerstone of law firm billing practices, evolving into a prevalent model due to its origins in the early 20th century as firms sought a transparent method to bill clients. Initially introduced to ensure fairness and accountability, it represented a shift toward quantifying legal services in a tangible manner. This billing practice was seen as a straightforward and seemingly fair way to charge for legal services, benefiting clients by providing a clear measure of the effort expended on their behalf and ensuring lawyers were compensated for the precise time they invested in a case. Lawyers log the hours worked on a case, and clients pay based on these hours, making it seem like an effective way to align compensation with the amount of work done. This model, in theory, ensures that clients pay for the exact amount of work done, allowing for a detailed breakdown of services rendered, and ensures that lawyers are compensated for every minute they work. It encourages meticulous record-keeping and can foster a sense of trust between client and attorney, as clients can see exactly where their money is going.

However, this seemingly equitable system does harbor underlying negative complexities and even, perhaps, unintended consequences. This raises a critical question: Does this time-honored billing practice truly serve the best interests of both clients and lawyers, or does it put unnecessary pressure on lawyers to focus on revenue more than successful outcomes?”

Read the full article on Colorado Lawyer ->


Chuong Le

Chuong Le is the managing partner of 3i Law, where he advises clients in the areas of private client services, corporate law, and cross-border transactions. He has represented individuals and multi-generational families in legacy planning, public and private foundations, charitable giving and tax planning. Chuong has also represented domestic and international companies during startup and formation, corporate restructures, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, import and export, and provided counsel to companies entering emerging markets, restructures, succession planning and growth strategies. Additionally, Chuong has also worked with companies in various phases of real estate holdings and investments. He emphasizes providing his clients with personal attention and an innovative and comprehensive approach to helping them meet their business and legal needs. He is dedicated to understanding the challenges that clients face on a regular basis and working closely with them to assist in achieving their goals.

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