Here is a link to an interesting article on the debate over hourly fee rates.
As the article states, "the imminent demise of the billable hour has been confidently predicted for years, maybe now more than ever. And yet,. . . the billable hour somehow manages to survive. The hourly rate -- at least until it finally dies -- is one of the knottiest aspects of the relationship between lawyers and their clients. The hourly rate problem can become a trap."
The article goes on to discuss what it calls "the fundamental problem with the billable hour" which is "how does one measure the value of a lawyer's time?" and provides five good reasons "why clients shouldn't fall into the "hourly rate trap," i.e. allowing retention decisions to be guided principally by hourly rates."