The hourly rate does not create any incentive for the billing professional to perform the legal service efficiently. Indeed, the natural effect yields the opposite result, since the lawyer who takes more time to complete a task or assignment will bill more time, yielding more revenue.
In order to realize the greatest value in legal service, the work should be performed at the most appropriate level by the most appropriate individual. Does this general rule require that all work be “downstreamed” or delegated to the most junior level?
Small corporate law departments (i.e., those with no more than ten in-house attorneys) face the same challenges as their larger brethren when seeking to maximize the value of the legal service that they purchase and manage for their companies.