The billable hour. Ugh. I don’t like it, and I’m pretty sure you don’t like it either. The good news is that the bandwagon for murdering the billable hour is gaining more members every week. I came across an article about how a partner at a very large firm just penned an anti-billable hour op-ed piece for Forbes magazine. That’s pretty big news because typically big law firms are the last to adapt.
In my practice, I use project prices (i.e. fixed fees) as much as possible. If you are interviewing a lawyer for your startup, don’t be afraid to ask for project pricing. Most of the work a startup needs can be done per project, but don’t expect a firm to handle a VC financing for a fixed fee. Although, I believe fixed fees for financings will inevitably happen. But as a general rule, the chances of using fixed fees dwindle when negotiation and multiple parties are involved in a transaction.