De Groote – De Man wins Trends Impact Award 2023 in well-being category.
26 October 2023
This exciting achievement follows their earlier success in London last month, when they were ‘Standout’ at the prestigious Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards, in the ‘People Management’ category.
De Groote – De Man remains the only and first Belgian law firm to switch ‘from billable hours to quality hours’.
De Groote – De Man has repeatedly proven to be at the forefront of the legal industry thanks to their innovative approaches and solutions for clients in various sectors.
Jeroen De Man, Founder: “So what did we do? We came up with a plan that revolves around revenue and EBITDA (n.d.r. the profit before the deduction of interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). We did away with the system of billable hours and discussed with our teams what turnover they turn in a year’s time. How they do that, they discuss among themselves. How much money each lawyer wants to make and how much they want to work is their own decision. For example, if you set a goal of 1 million euros in turnover and you can achieve it in a month, then in theory you can take 11 months of vacation…”
Corporate rebellious plan
De Groote – De Man has received recognition for their innovative approach that is attracting worldwide attention. As visionary pioneers in their industry, they have completely abandoned the traditional billing model based on billable hours. Instead, they have introduced a groundbreaking system where lawyers are in control of their own income and work schedules.
This progressive system is all about freedom, responsibility and trust. Lawyers are no longer assessed based on hours worked, but have the freedom to determine their own earnings and work schedules. This transparent model fosters a stimulating environment where everyone knows each other’s salaries and where intrinsic motivation, creativity and teamwork thrive.
This system also means that lawyers are better protected against burnout, there is a better work-life ratio (which the industry is not known for) and people are judged for their intrinsic qualities and not just on how many billable hours they can work.
Ingrid De Poorter, Managing Partner: We have been working for 10 months now, and we notice that our employees are putting less and less emphasis on billable hours and more on fixed prices. This means that our employees are putting more and more effort into achieving the same results in less time than before. Clients are happy because they now pay a fixed amount and have certainty about costs. Employees are also happy because by working more efficiently they can generate more revenue while having more free time. Everything is connected.
De Groote – De Man hopes thanks to this recognition for their model that this can be a breakthrough in the legal and consulting world, now that it can lead to a better work-life ratio in the industry and greater satisfaction of lawyers in their jobs. This benefits the entire industry now that there will be less attrition of quality people to other industries that way.