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History of the Billable Hour

Originally posted 2013-07-30 13:58:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A little while ago I got involved in a discussion at this blog about flat-fee billing by lawyers.  I am pretty skeptical about the concept when applied to what I do: “complex” commercial and intellectual property litigation, and I made myself heard.  So did others, on both sides of the equation.

Now there’s this infographic from a firm that calls itself the San Diego Law Firm.  They do everything on a flat-fee basis, including litigation — though, understandably, this page, where they discuss how they handle litigation matters on that basis is somewhat vague, because every case, as they say, is different.

The infographic is, as all infographics are, an advertisement.  Then again, to some extent, so are pretty much all the other blog posts here.  I think, as I do with respect to all the infographics I run, this one is interesting and informative, and not too off-topic.  I am a little skeptical of the claim here that the average hourly rate for a U.S. lawyer is $540, however.  A very little bit of research — it took four seconds — demonstrates that it is incorrect.  That number, as cited in the infographic, comes from this article, which does not actually say that the average is $540; rather, it has a chart that seems to say that.  For the full report from which that graphic came, however, you have to click here — and pay a fee.

A $2,500 fee.  Well, whatever that chart meant to say, that figure is wrong.  It is probably based on a survey of big law firm rates paid by public companies, though the cost of that report is a little rich for my blood. From another source, however — the ABA Journal — here are the free, actual, and somewhat more nuanced, facts, though I think they still deal with the same subset of the profession, i.e., rates paid by “corporate clients” (it’s from the same report).

The average 2012 hourly billing rate was about $536 for law firm partners and $370 for associates, according to the analysis by TyMetrix Legal Analytics and CEB. Corporate Counsel summarizes the findings.

The average billing rate for partners ranged from about $343 at firms of 50 or fewer lawyers to $727 at firms of more than 1,000 lawyers. The analysis takes information from $9.5 billion worth of invoices submitted by 4,800 U.S. law firms to 83 corporate clients from 2008 to 2012.

Partners in New York City had the highest average billing rate—about $756—while the practice area with the highest billing rate was finance and securities, with an average of $673 an hour.

Obviously, a lot more hours are billed by associates than by partners.  And these are the clients that are not finding their lawyers via infographics.  Lots of other legal work is being done on behalf of individuals, small- and medium-sized businesses for much lower rates than that, especially outside of the major cities.  (Not by me, mind you, but … you know.)

Nonetheless, here’s their argument, which is still more or less what it is; graphically dramatized for your viewing pleasure: Read More…

When Will The Law Catch Up To Self-Driving Cars? [Infographic]

Self-driving cars seem like a good idea- you can concentrate on other things, they take human error out of the equation, and they appear to be much safer. But are they even legal? There are many places throughout the United States where there aren’t yet laws that apply to self-driving cars. Currently 4 states have passed bills on automated driving, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Learn more from this infographic!


The Death of Brick and Mortar

Originally posted 2014-02-26 09:43:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

It’s good to be an “Internet lawyer” — at least if you have “Internet clients.” Thankfully, I do.

Here’s why it’s so good, besides the obvious reasons (i.e., invitations to all the cool parties):The Death of Brick and Mortar and the Rise of Ecommerce

How Upworthy Won the Internet

Originally posted 2014-03-14 10:40:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Upworthy has learned, as the infographic below demonstrates, how to work the levers of the Internet — building a brand out of nowhere.

Can these techniques work for existing brands — like blogs?  Presumably.

Are they right for every brand?  Of course not.  But this one is a no-brainer for everyone, I’d say:  “Just don’t be spammy.  Quality comes first.”

Yes, please!

Upworthy Internet Infographic

Brought to you by Social Marketing Software by Marketo

Presidential Shysters?

[“Shysters” — now that’s one ugly word, no? Well, sometimes the truth is ugly. If this is how members of the bar distinguish themselves in the White House… well, many readers of this blog don’t have to imagine what it looks like in the trenches.  They’re living it. — RDC]

Presidential Shysters

The Art of Battling Giants

The David versus Goliath concept doesn’t just appeal to me, it’s one of the themes of my professional life. One of my clients, in fact, just sent me the Malcolm Gladwell book that’s all the rage now — though let’s not forget Glenn Reynolds and his Army of Davids.

In any case, in light of all that, I agreed to run this infographic. Enjoy it or I’ll skiing a stone at your noggin!Battling Giants

Does the NSA Think You Are a Terrorist?

It’s nothing personal if they do, but — does the NSA think, maybe, you’re a terrorist?

Don’t be surprised if it does.

Does The NSA Think You Are A Terrorist?

Are Tech Startup Bubbles Real?

Startups are cool right?

We used to all want to represent them and take equity in them and stuff.

Now, we’re a little more careful, all around.  Here, think some more:
Demystifying the Tech Startup Bubble
Image compliments of Biz Brain

School Tech (Infographic)

Workbench at Edison's lab

I like technology!  It’s all over me and I’m all over it.  It brings me to you and you to me.  It also keeps you from me if, you know, that’s more appropriate.  It has transformed the practice of law, the field of intellectual property, and everyday life in all sorts of ways that even a paragraph this full of cliches could not describe without using even more of them.

One of the things I often think about when considering electric magic stuff is how different my college experience would have been if I had the toys today’s students have when I was prowling the lawns of Princeton in my cap and gown.  (We wore those to class in those days.)  I remember investing in an answering machine for my dorm room — the kind that took full-size cassette tapes — when I got a single and there were no roommates around to take messages for each other.  This was a great device!  People could leave a message for you.  For when you were not near the phone.  Before graduation I wrote my (execrable) senior thesis using an even cooler device, which, like the answering machine in my room, also used a cassette tape to store data:  A personal computer called a Commodore VIC 20.

Ah, memories.  (It’s cliche day!)  As I said, my economics thesis was so bad I should have written it with a crayon, and the fact that I was  using technology that was already well-nigh obsolete (other kids had these Macintosh thingies) didn’t spoil my fun or my excitement.  Who knew?  The scholarship, the answering machine, the PC, and in many respects the man were all in for major changes.  Indeed, we were all of us ensconced in one of the newest dorms on campus, located in what was called New New Quad — which itself was deemed obsolete by Princeton Inc. and leveled not all that long ago, to considerably more ambivalence than met the passing of these other old-fashioned notions of high technology.

Journey with me, then, along the path of a new infographic from my buddies at Nowsourcing featuring Technology, Then vs. Now in the academy.

Then Versus Now: How Technology in Schools Has Changed Over Time

Image compliments of Master of Arts in Teaching Degrees

Uncle Sam Wants You! To Hack for the US Government

Years ago I co-authored an article called “Hacker with a White Hat.” I had just stumbled on the metaphor — really.

The article is kind of quaint in modern terms.  I’ve already gone into all that here.  But it makes a pretty good segue to this infographic, no?

Uncle Sam Wants You To Hack for the U.S. Government
Image compliments of Homeland Security Degrees