Peer to Peer Magazine

June 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 88 of 143

Revolution Has Already Happened: The A Curmudgeon’s Counterpoints Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA by David Hill 51 Read David’s counterpoint to “The Future Starts Now” in the June 2010 issue of . Attorney RFID: Your Personal Billing Barcode by David Hill of City of Vancouver Law Department 90 Peer to Peer tried to rally the troops at ILTA’s annual conference last year. My target: the billable hour. Recording and billing time is a massive contributor to law firm overhead. Imagine a firm without it: a standard business accounting system with no timekeepers, no timesheets, no annual billing “targets” and no need for a file number to make a photocopy! Billable hours have no inherent value. They are simply an accountability mechanism. The rationale that clients demand billables doesn’t wash anymore — not in reign of the AFA. AFAs have smoked us out. I was aghast to learn that some firms continue to track billables on AFA matters. It’s the law firms (more precisely, the partners) that are hooked on billables. I railed and raged against the billable. I was passionate, I was righteous. I took justified liberties, and I deployed my utmost oratorical skills. So effective was I that exactly zero — none, zilch, naught — firms took my advice. At least that I know of. No one’s written to thank me for saving the firm. No one’s offered to pay me for it. I A Reversal in Thinking All of this does lead one to a bit of a shift in thinking…well, maybe more than a bit. The blunter among us might say “capitulation — a complete and unreserved reversal.” Yes, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve come, at first slowly, lately with more vigor, to believe I had it exactly wrong last year. It is time not to bury the billable, but to embrace it. Peer to Peer

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