"After you agree to work together, you meekly ask how much it
will cost. The answer is, "Oh, well, that's hard to say. It depends
on so many things..." Although she gives you a ballpark estimate,
that's all it is. She goes on to say that she will bill you
monthly, with the amount invoiced based on the new time she has
spent on your case. Oh -- and the retainer to begin work will be
$1,000, thank you very much.
"Welcome to the improbable and seemingly impregnable world of
the lawyers' billable hour -- perhaps the only pervasive, virtually
undisputed commercial standard in existence that puts almost all of
the risk on the buyer, and where the cost of the commoditized
product goes up, not down, year after year.
"How did such an illogical and unequal standard become so well
established, and how does it survive? Good questions. The first one
is easy. But there's really no good answer for the second one at
all, although I invite you to consider the following."