find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Corporate counsel calls for task-based billing

Corporate counsel calls for task-based billing

The head of legal at NRMA has claimed that assigning a dollar value to certain legal tasks is win-win for firms and in-house counsel.

Paul Rogerson (pictured) told Lawyers Weekly that time-based billing devalues the expertise lawyers provide. He suggested that firms consider task-based billing and provide in-house counsel with a menu of standard legal tasks, with costs reflecting what firms believe their lawyers’ expertise is worth.

This approach gives in-house counsel the price certainty they seek and shifts the client’s focus to the quality of the legal advice, rather than the time taken to deliver it, said Rogerson.

“When you focus too much on hourly rates it becomes purely a question of price and I don’t think this does firms any favours,” he said.

“[Value] should be the most important aspect when external counsel are spruiking their services.”

NRMA currently requests estimates from its external legal counsel. Rogerson said firms must consult him before exceeding an estimate and provide an explanation for the failure to remain within the budgeted amount.

While Rogerson admitted that the arrangement is not ideal, he accused firms of being unreceptive to his requests for alternatives to time-based billing. He added, however, that there is still a place for time-based billing “as long as costs are properly managed and contained”.

Rogerson also claimed that the size of an organisation influences what in-house counsel can demand of their external legal counsel.

“The more buying power you have, the greater your ability to request alternative billing structures and have suppliers meet your requests,” he said.

Rogerson discussed billing models during a panel discussion at the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA) Corporate Counsel Day in Sydney last month. The panel also debated the benefits of direct briefing, as a growing number of in-house counsel bypass firms and contact barristers for legal advice.

Rogerson cited cost savings as an obvious advantage of direct briefing. He added that, contrary to the widely-held perception that the Bar is inaccessible, he has found barristers to be entrepreneurial, with clerks facilitating relationships with in-house counsel.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Corporate counsel calls for task-based billing
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...