There is a lot of evidence that lawyers need to change they way they bill for their services. And as the billable hour is replaced by alternative fee agreements, law firms will have a much greater incentive to find more efficient ways to get their work done.
A lot of the pressure is coming from corporate clients who are adopting the principals outlined in the ACC Value Challenge. But apparently, some judges are paying attention to these issue as well (i.e. they expect counsel to use appropriate resources to complete tasks.)
As reported in Above the Law, a partner at a major law firm was chastised for requesting excessive attorneys fees. In reducing the fees requested by counsel, the judge suggested that the partner had demonstrated “a lack of billing judgment”. In particular, the judge suggested that some of the discovery tasks performed by the partner should have been performed by junior associates.