Friday, May 23, 2008

Elefant Analogizes Some Law Billing Practices To Airlines Charging For Your Second Bag

Posted by Alan Childress

Carolyn Elefant at MyShingle is asking whether certain billing practices make lawyers look, to their clients, like airlines are looking now when they announce new charges for certain practices like checking your second piece of luggage or using unfavored ticketing methods.  Her post is entitled Real Life Marketing Lesson:  Are You Charging Clients Like American Airlines?  It is not so much focused on the ethics of this -- she is not denying one may have spent some time doing the things she talks about -- as on the client relations aspect.  Look for good comments on how to show the clients you respected them this way (by soloist Susan Carter Liebel), and Ed Poll's accepting her baggage analogy but wondering whether it is really just understandable "unbundling" by the airlines. 616473_suitcase_full

All I know is that the classic "unintended consequences of social action" in this case meant that I shoehorned my second bag into the USAir overhead bin last Friday and held everyone up for three minutes because I was not going to pay that $25. Sorry.  I suspect many other customers did and will do the same.  So is it really better for the airlines and passengers if normally-checked bags now get moved to the overheads?  Do we not have overhead-bin-overcrowding already?  Can you possibly force a bag into that hole without thinking of Ben Stiller arguing with the flight attendant with chopsticks in her hair in Meet The Parents? 

Taking the cue from Carolyn here, I suspect that the new policies will not, long run, mean extra revenue to airlines but rather longer load times, more disagreements over acceptable carry-on, and increased frustration all around.  If that does not lead to extra revenues and especially profits, what is the point?  And she is saying:  same goes for law billing.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2008/05/elefant-anologi.html

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Comments

So YOU were that guy holding us up on the plane. We talked to the captain, who offered to force you to sit in the bathroom for the entire flight, but somehow you got out of it. You must have some connection high in the airline world. Sheesh!

Posted by: Mark Childress | May 24, 2008 5:29:54 AM

That's my brother Mark, who is a real writer, which is why there is a cleverly veiled reference to our oldest brother, a [major airlines] captain. His/their birthtown (and Harper Lee's) is sadly featured in this news item on a civil rights lawsuit in Monroeville, AL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080524/ap_on_re_us/racism_lawsuit

Posted by: Alan Childress | May 24, 2008 7:50:29 AM

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