What did lawyers do before the billable hour? Back in the 1930s and 1940s, state bars published minimum fees for legal services and warned that lawyers "charging less than the minimums were to be punished." (The Supreme Court eventually banished the "base fees" system.) The billable hour followed, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, later labeled "the cockroach of the legal world," and now the subject of many lawyer gag gifts.
The billable slayer? Previously, we wrote of Scott Turow's quest to kill the billable hour. Now, a Boston firm appears to have stepped up to the plate, banishing the time clock. In its place, according to the Boston Globe, a flat annual fee or flat price per task.
It sure beats: watching your Simpson Thatcher attorney bill out at $1000 an hour.