ACLA president makes case against billable hour
President of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA) and general counsel for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority, Suzanne Hillier, has highlighted the attractiveness of law firms which have abandoned the billable hour model.
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly about her objectives as ACLA’s new president for 2012, Hillier – a former private practice lawyer – described the preference amongst her in-house colleagues to brief firms which provide legal services under alternative fee arrangements.
“If an [external legal provider] is not going to charge you on a billable hour rate, it changes the way you deal with them,” she said. “I find that the [fixed-fee] model works best for me and I think a lot of people would say that … For the work that I brief out in my role and from what the people I know in the profession say, there are advantages to briefing out to external providers who are not using the billable hour.”
Hillier added that the adoption of fixed-fee pricing models would also provide “more bargaining power” or scope to have a discussion as to how much the work will cost and what service is to be delivered.