It seemed like a sure-fire way to make money. But high turnover and rocketing salaries ate into profit margins. Now, the whole pyramid model is looking fragile.The combination of these three things brings me to a new position on the billable hour. Law firms shifting to non-billlable hour pricing will come from profitability pressure, brought in part by client rate pressures. Clients can bring certain pressures to bear on profitability, but they are not in a position to dictate law firms' business models. Which brings us to profitability. Law firms do not measure profitability. This statement may and should sound crazy. Firms measure billable hours, utilization, realization and hopefully leverage. But none of those measure profitability. Even Profits Per Equity Partner (PPEP) is not a profitability measure. That measure does not tell you the margins a firm has on revenue, only the average pay of an equity partner. My Theory: Financial pressures on firms will shift the focus away from leverage to profitability. This focus on profitability will shine a bright light on the limitations of the billable hour. And this in turn will open the door to law firms seriously exploring alternative billing methods.