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Setting and Collecting Fees

One More Reason to Flat Fee: Getting Paid

October 16, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

A recent decision by a New York court, rejecting a law firm’s breach of contract claim to recover $2.3 million in legal fees from a client highlights both the importance of a detailed written representation agreement and yet another reason to consider adopting flat fees. According to the New York Law Journal, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres […]

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Want to Lower the Cost of Legal Services? Let’s Ditch Trust Accounts.

May 27, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Last month over at Attorney at Work, practice management consultant Peggy Gruenke shared her Mini-Checklist for Trust Account Management. Gruenke’s list is an exhaustive compilation of the do’s and don’ts and best practices for trust account management and therein lies the problem. Because in a digital age when most firms accept electronic payments and credit […]

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The Billable Hour Stifles Pricing Innovation

January 23, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Figuring out how much to charge isn’t just a conundrum for lawyers,  it’s common to most small businesses. For example, how many times have you as a lawyer, asked yourself or a colleague the same questions posed in this New York Times story, Businesses Go Creative on Pricing, Applying Technology. Many business owners struggle with […]

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The $75/hour law firm

November 9, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

No, not joking.  Just a few days after my  two part series on the viability of a $99/hour firm, I came across this $75/hour business model, the Justice Cafe in Fulton County Georgia, offering a la carte family law service to walk in clients.  Lawyers staffing the Justice Cafe will work on contract and collect […]

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How Low Can (or Should) You Go: Part II

November 2, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Following yesterday’s post exploring the viability of the $99/hour lawyer as a business model, discussion (if you can call an exchange of 140 character blurbs and bursts real discussion) ensued on Twitter. I wanted to use this post to summarize my view of the argument and also clarify the context of my post. Defending People […]

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Billing Like It’s 1989: The $99/Hour Lawyer

November 1, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Call it a new kind of legal limbo as law firms take a turn on the conga line to see just how low they can go.  Only this form of limbo isn’t a game, but serious business.  Large firms are quoting suicide rates to keep business reports Lawyerist while solos and nonlawyer networks are exploring […]

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Is Price Transparency Always A Good Thing for Prospective Clients?

October 15, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

As Matt Homann points out, price transparency is coming soon already here in both the medical and legal profession.  Of course, it goes without saying that most lawyers dislike the idea of putting price on their website either for fear that competitors will undercut them or concern that clients will be deterred by a high […]

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Understanding the Value of Value Pricing, Courtesy of The New England Lobster Glut

August 9, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Talk about value-pricing makes me crabby.  It’s not that I’m a fan of the billable hour or that I fear that flat fees (one type of alternative pricing) put lawyers at risk of under-recovery.  Rather, it’s just that many of the alternative/value-pricing gurus are so darn opaque about how to implement alternative pricing that the […]

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Your Realization Rates May Make You Realize That Flat Fees Often Make More “Cents”

November 7, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

As a solo or small firm lawyer, you’ve probably heard the term “involuntary pro bono.” That’s what happens when you sign up to take a case, collect a retainer, exceed the retainer and the client stops paying the bill on the eve of trial when it’s too late to pull out. Well, turns out that […]

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Pay for the Product, Legal Service is Free or Pay for the Legal Service, Product is Free?

October 19, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

In my last post, I discussed different types of freebies that lawyers offer as incentives to encourage existing clients to send or refer more work. But lawyers — and quasi-legal providers like Legal Zoom — are also using free to generate new clients. Many lawyers – from solos to behemoth firms – are giving away […]

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