Definitely Mabey

The New "Busy"

I know as Bob Dylan sang, “the times they are a-changin” but until the billable hour is dead and law firms have changed their economic model in a meaningful and permanent way, the billable hour feeds a lot of mouths.

Stephen Mabey Author

One of my personal favourite myths to debunk is that the legal profession is going to come charging out of this recession like it has always done in the past. Alas, perhaps more importantly the thought that the recession is even over needs to be debunked.

Hildebrandt, a Thomson Reuters enterprise, acquired a couple of years back in their slow-but-steady takeover of the thought patterns of the legal industry, recently made the following statement as part of the Hildebrandt Baker Robbins Peer Monitor Economic Index release for the second quarter: “Demand, as measured by billable hours, was flat in the second quarter compared with a year earlier. Rate growth, which measures rates for negotiated worked hours, dropped to 2.6 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier, marking some of the slowest rate growth seen by PMI. In addition, collected rates were flat, and are expected to show only modest growth, or even a slight decline, for the year as a whole.”

And before the Overhead Police gear up for another rant, the release also points out that, “overall, cost reductions were unable to improve firm profitability in the face of sluggish demand and rate growth.” So nope, cutting your way to profitability is not the panacea for success.

So in the face of confirmation of what most practising lawyers knew in their heart of hearts, why is “busy” still the No. 1 response to the question “How are you?”

I expect there is some deep psychological explanation far beyond my ability to grasp so I will offer you a couple of shallower, earthier ones:

The rest of this article is available in Stephen Mabey's new Book

Book Cover - Leading and Managing a Sustainable Law Firm - Tactics & Strategies for a Rapidly Changing Profession by Stephen Mabey

Available for purchase on BookBaby.



And remember, until next time,

"Don't worry over what other people are thinking about you. They're too busy worrying over what you are thinking about them."

Comments or Questions?


First Published in Canadian Lawyer September 2010. Copyright © Applied Strategies Inc.

Legal Strategy Consultant