Did everyone else notice that, yet again, the NYT is positing the demise of the billable hour (here) and that it was for a time the most e-mailed story on the NYT this weekend? I wonder about the fixation with the billable hour as a measure of lawyer's value. While it has its obvious drawbacks, all billing methods are susceptible to the extraction of rents given the imperfections in the market for legal services. Moreover, lawyers moved to the billable hour for good reasons (more efficient allocation of risk) as well as more dubious ones (accounting firm indications that this would correct the lag in lawyers' earnings). Why isn't there more critical discussion of this?