A recent survey completed by William G. Ross, professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, is ruffling some feathers. Ross has a special interest in billing ethics, and has done two previous surveys of this sort.
In the current survey, 5,000 randomly sampled attorneys were asked about their billing practices. Only 251 responses were received, and that number of responses seems a bit thin to provide reliable results. However, I think that the results are interesting nonetheless and bear discussing.
The focus of the survey was time-based billing, and whether or not such billing leads to inefficiencies, fraudulent billing, or other negative consequences.
Ross notes that this survey’s results were very similar to the results of previous surveys. He opines that “a distressingly high percentage of attorneys believe that time-based billing results in bill padding and provides incentives for attorneys to perform unnecessary work.”