There's much talk about the end of the billable hour. Because it's easy to administer, it will be stay around so long as clients accept it.
This highlights the difference between the large firms and others. The large firms deal with large clients ... who have purchasing power others don't.
The real question is not whether large firms will accept this new way of billing/pricing, but rather whether small firms will create a laundry list of unbundled services and fixed prices/fees. If they all do, then the consumer of these services may ultimately have more power ... by walking among lawyers to opt for the least expensive ... Until then, there are few ways, if any, for the consumer to make price comparisons among small firm or sole practitioners.
If they all don't, my prediction is that the billable hour will remain as the last vestige of a maturing legal community. On the other hand (said like a true lawyer), perhaps some will break with tradition and create that laundry list in order to differentiate their law practice from others ... and urge clients to come to them so they can know, in advance, what their cost exposure will be and so they can budget for their legal cost.
Where do you think your firm is headed? ... to undbundle and create fixed fees as in a laundry list ... or retain the billable hour? Please comment with your prediction.