How hourly billing is hurting your people and profit

John Chisholm explains how value pricing can shift your team's mindset and increase your law firm's profit.
How hourly billing is hurting your people and profit

John Chisholm did not think that he would end up researching, writing, and consulting about law firm pricing. However, John learned how the billable hour model is limiting law firm profitability, and he became a passionate value pricing advocate.

Peter Aprile and Natalie Worsfold talk to John about why he believes that law firms should stop hourly billing and start value pricing. The group discusses why and how the hourly billing model is hurting you, your law firm, and your clients.

Also, Peter, Natalie and John discuss how the current model is creating an environment that hurts associate development and retention. Oh, and Counter decides to stop offering hourly billing on all new files, and to stop tracking time on January 1, 2019. 

John Chisholm


John Chisholm, John Chisholm Consulting

John Chisholm was previously a partner for 18 years, including 9 as Managing Partner at Maddocks, & Chief Executive of Middletons ( now K&L Gates) for 5 years.

John established his own consultancy, John Chisholm Consulting, in 2005 to share his expertise and experience with professionals who look to maximize the well being of their people & their firms business performance. He now speaks, trains, facilitates, coaches and consults. As a practicing lawyer, managing partner and chief executive, John was well placed to experience firsthand both the benefits but also the drawbacks of the legal profession pricing their services solely by reference to time. He has been the sole consultant to the legal profession in Australia for a number of years now extolling firms to not only stop billing their services by time but also to burn their time sheets. He works with professional firms (and their clients) assisting them with both a mindset change, and the practical implementation, of moving towards value based pricing to become Firms of the Future instead of firms of the past.

John is a Senior Fellow of the Verasage Institute, an international think tank of thought leaders and innovators for professional firms, has written numerous articles on value pricing and has presented and spoken to over 1000 professionals on this topic.

Peter Aprile


Peter Aprile, Counter Tax Lawyers

Peter Aprile is a senior lawyer specializing in tax dispute resolution and litigation. His vision as Counter’s founder and his everyday role at the firm are one and the same: to be an agent of change, uncovering opportunities and developing strategies that achieve more than anyone expected. A creative thinker, Peter studies problems from all different angles to find what others have missed. He’s also convinced that he likes winning more than most people.

Different people describe Peter in different ways. At the CRA and the federal Department of Justice, the word relentless comes up quite a lot. Admittedly, so does the word a**hole – but it’s often said with a certain grudging respect, if not affection. Peter’s clients call him a saint. Well, some of them, anyway. His colleagues describe him as empowering and harddriving, but fair. Peter’s friends call him loyal. His wife describes him as a lot to deal with, but worth it. Peter encourages his young daughter and son to call him “The Big Homie,” though with limited success. His mother describes him with the single word mischievous – before going on to complain that he should call more.

Read Peter’s complete bio →

Natalie Worsfold


Natalie Worsfold, Counter Tax Lawyers

Natalie is a tax lawyer who represents individual taxpayers and owner-managed businesses in disputes with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). She also successfully challenges CRA decisions denying taxpayer relief and helps facilitate applications under the Voluntary Disclosures Program.

But what you really need to know about Natalie is that she’s a tax litigator with heart. When she takes a case, it’s not out of technical interest – it’s because she cares. And if she believes the government has got something wrong, she won’t stop until it’s been put right. She’s fierce.

Natalie is the co-architect behind many of Counter’s process workflows, software and data analytics systems, as well as our comprehensive knowledgebase (loving named Hank). And when it comes to preparing cases, she’s Counter’s secret weapon – happiest when elbow-deep in evidence, meticulously building creative solutions to seemingly impossible problems. Because the fact is Natalie sees things that other people don’t.

Natalie’s family and friends describe her as loyal, selfless, understanding and fun. They also mention stubborn. To her Counter colleagues she’s a combination of stellar brainpower and contagious enthusiasm who elevates the game of everyone around her.

Read Natalie’s complete bio →

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What Accountants Say

Peter Aprile is a very hands on and practical tax lawyer who is very focused and diligent. He is a pleasure to work with.

- Susan Farina, Tax Partner, Price Waterhouse Coopers

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What Clients Say

I’m a Senior VP with an accounting and finance background. I’ve worked with lawyers and large law firms. I was referred to Counter to fix a tax dispute. It is very rare to encounter lawyers that combine expertise, dedication, and a businesslike approach to litigation. I have no hesitation in recommending Counter.

- David Cuddy, Senior Vice-President, Finance & Business Operations, CFL

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What Accountants Say

Counter Tax Litigators has worked with Fuller Landau to resolve several of our clients’ tax disputes. Counter delivers superior communication.

- Laura Couvrette, CPA, CA, Fuller Landau LLP

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What Clients Say

I spent a good part of my career dealing with attorneys on innumerable matters, and found Peter to be extremely competent, open-minded and exceptionally honest. I would not hesitate to use Peter again, and highly recommend the team at Counter Tax Litigators.

- Mark Ram, Retired CEO

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What Clients Say

Counter’s representation on our behalf was well informed, professional and efficient, which ultimately resulted in a highly satisfactory decision in all aspects.

- Klaus W. Reif, President, Reif Estate Winery

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What Clients Say

I was amazed with the results. They went above and beyond, and I would recommend Counter to any person or business with a significant tax dispute.

- Brian Grott, Northland Screen Corp

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