In the old-model law firm, approximately one-third of the fees you pay are used to fund the firm's overhead, most of which is either unnecessary to the delivery of legal services or could be sharply reduced.
You know: marble floors in the lobby; cherry wood conference room table surrounded by high-back leather chairs; leased luxury car for the senior partner; and trendy rotating art exhibits in the hallways. The fees you pay also sustain that traditional law firm's:
Another one-third of the fees you pay to an old-line law firm go the lawyer in the firm who originated the client relationship, without regard to which (likely junior) lawyer is actually doing your work.
The average profit per partner in the largest 100 law firms in the United States in 2010 (during a huge economic downturn you may have noticed) was $1,360,000 (source: American Bar Association Journal). Sure, they are smart and have worked hard, but does that make sense for you as a client?