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The chief executive of the new Legal Complaints Service (LCS) has described the system of billable hours charging as "outdated", recommending firms look at "new and interesting ways of charging".
Deborah Evans, in her first interview since being appointed, told The Lawyer: "Less efficient lawyers will bill more than more efficient ones, and there's no benchmark for the consumer. "Some people are getting a Rolls-Royce service when they really don't need one and it would be far better to think about what [the work] is worth to the client and agree a figure at the start."
Evans also recommended that firms bill private clients periodically rather than at the conclusion of an instruction, as this would stave off difficulties with paying that can lead to unwarranted complaints of excessive fees.
"We need to have a flexible approach to billing that suits the client and the matter," she said.
The LCS is the new name for the Consumer Complaints Service (CCS). It will change its moniker on 22 January.