I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Sarah Poriss for a video series especially for solos, called The Art of Being Solo, which will begin airing on June 16, 2014. The series provides insights from a variety of experts on a number of different topics from marketing to billing and everything in between.
The host of the summit, Sarah Poriss, is a solo herself, and she loves the business side of running her practice. She interviewed me and others to explore the issues and challenges faced by solos and small firm attorneys to answer the question “How can we all build a law practice that we love and that inspires us?”
If you're interested in the series, register for free access here.
The topic of my interview was billing and alternative fees. Alternative fee arrangements may not be easy to implement, particularly for brand-new solos, but when used properly, they do have a number of advantages, including:
- Cost and revenue predictability
- Development of project management skills
- Emphasis on value over hours
- Increased trust and stronger client relationships
- Greater transparency
- Improved communication
Alternative fee arrangements may require more work for the attorney, including more in-depth conversations with clients about their goals, budget and expected outcomes; more up-front planning; a better understanding of costs involved in providing services; tracking of budget and fees throughout the engagement; some level of standardization; project management skills; and an acceptance of some risk. But the rewards can be well worth it - and many clients are coming to expect (and indeed deserve) these services regardless of your fee structure.
Whether you decide to implement alternative fee structures in your practice or not, you should be as transparent with clients about your billing practices as possible, ensure that your bills are sent timely and that they are consistent, realistic and sufficiently detailed that clients can easily understand what was done, by whom, when, and why.
If you want to hear more about billing and alternative fees, check some of my other blog posts and articles on these topics:
- Billing Practices that Help You Get Paid
- Law Firm Profitability: Can it Be Measured By Hours?
- Does Hourly Billing Encourage Padding of Legal Bills?
- Is Tracking Time a Waste of Time?
...and watch my video in Art of Being Solo series (and you'll get even more tips with my free giveaway, too). But whether you're interested in billing or not, access to the entire video series is FREE, so check out some of the other experts as well by registering here. But don't delay - these videos will only be available for a limited time!