A Forbes blog today unveiled a new tool that is being hailed as a great innovation in providing law firm clients transparency when it comes to their legal bills and strengthening the client-attorney relationship.

But I can also hear many gasps of horror out there.

The service is called Viewabill and works pretty much like any other real-time running tab application. Viewabill’s founders figured that if you can view your bills instantly for your cell phone and your credit card, why shouldn’t you be able to view a running tab for your hourly service providers?

Viewabill is aimed at all hourly service providers, not just attorneys – although that was the first market the developers thought of since one of them was frustrated about not being able to know what the legal expenses were running for his apparel company until he got a bill. 

Before going to market, they pulled in Alan Dershowitz to see if their application had legs for the legal industry. He was an instant fan:

“I was immediately attracted to it because it seemed like a good way to prevent the loss of trust between client and lawyer. Most arguments between lawyers and clients involve billing. When the client has the ability to view the bill in real-time, he or she can bring problems to the attention of the lawyer at an early stage.”

Viewabill charges a scalable subscription fee to the service provider, so solos can afford the same billing transparency tool as the big firms. 

Viewabill says some firms love the service because it strengthens the client-attorney relationship and helps with realization rates. The company says those lawyers who don’t like it are “slow to change and stuck in their ways.”

Which side are you on?


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