It's simply not true what they say about solicitors. A client is embroiled in various legal matters, and has engaged a (huge) London legal firm to act. This firm invoices monthly and includes a full and detailed breakdown of time costs per invoice. Having not kept timesheets for many years, I find it fascinating reading, particularly the numerous items along the lines of - Partner A: Receiving email from client; reading email; forwarding email to Manager B; notifying client of same: 1.1 hours at £575/hour. Manager B: Receiving email from Partner A; reading email; forwarding email to Associates C and D; notifying Partner A of same: 0.6 hours at £320/hour. Associate C: Receiving email from Manager B........you can probably guess the rest.
I'm not suggesting there's anything dodgy here - the firm is upfront about where their astronomical costs come from so if the client is happy to pay, fair enough. I admire their chutzpah, in fact. Having been a long-time disciple of Ron Baker and the whole value-pricing ethos, I guess the interesting question for me is - for very large professional firms, who genuinely price on time, what's the attraction of potentially complicated value-based billing exercises when they can use technology to self-generate time costs like this? All you need is 1) truly extraordinary hourly rates and 2) a system to ensure every email and letter goes direct to the partner so it can be filtered down, expensively, to the correct level and it's champagne all round! When profits are averaging £750k per partner, time sheets suddenly seem a great idea.