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Saturday, 27 June 2009


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Blame the insurers and their unholy minions, the accountants. They stopped trusting lawyers and doctors to treat them fairly during the 1980s. As systems analysts moved from mainframes to minis to PC-based networks, coding tasks to determine was billable, what was not, and what was excessive seemed all the rage. Meanwhile, those pesky CPAs and their consultant arms did not impose the same model on themselves. Annual audits and consulting projects continued to be quoted on a flat fee basis and staffed with a highly leveraged pyramid of professionals.

Today's middle-aged lawyers have grown up in a world where they have no comprehension at all of how to quote a flat fee or round out a month's pile of services to something appropriate to the result. We trudge on like lemmings to the see. Those who can command the "Cadillac" work, ratchet the hourly charges higher each year. Those who can't continue to discount and underbid on rates but make it up on volume of tasks. The result is distrust by clients, resentment by professionals, and general malaise.

The obvious solution? The European model. Everyone should take the month of August and vacation in the south of France. No questions asked.

Tres bon!

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