Stop the meter
Sometimes a debate within an industry can move at blinding speed. In such circumstances, what is usually required are the right factors that push a particular matter up the agenda, leading to a critical mass that sees progress on supposedly intractable issues.The legal industry last year looked as if it might just be reaching such a moment with the long-running debate on hourly fees, which general counsel have criticised for years for rewarding inefficiency.Last year, law firm charge-out rates - not to mention partner profits - were shooting skyward amid bull market conditions. So when the Commerce and Industry (C&I) Group announced a project to research the reality of billings and come up with some practical suggestions to improve the lot of frustrated general counsel, it looked as if change might finally be in the air.
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