Buyers of professional services and products are seeking more clarity, control and predictability in their relationship with providers. This pressure is present across all professional service sectors, opening the door for innovative firms to grab market share from those that are slow or resistant to change.

In the legal sector, a prime example of the need to keep up with evolving client expectations is the billable hour. Figure 1 shows the primary complaints inside counsel have when considering the services provided by external law firms. Over-billing, over-lawyering, lack of responsiveness and lack of results are at the top of the list. These complaints are connected to a lack of transparency in the client engagement process often present in the legal industry. This opaqueness – which largely can be attributed to the billable hour model (or more aptly, the “billable six minute increment”) is exacerbated by an attorney’s need to meet a set number of hours each month, quarter and year. Corporate legal departments, as a consequence, are becoming less tolerant of firms that fail to maintain proper billing hygiene or explore alternative billing arrangements.

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