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Setting and Collecting Fees

Walmart v. Neiman Marcus Pricing for Legal Services

June 29, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Over at my Legal Blog Watch Beat, I posted about the Walmart v. Nieman Marcus pricing dichotomy, initially described by Mike Sherman of Law for Profit. Now many of you have heard about this model before: basically, you have a choice between selling lots of legal services (volume practice) at a narrow profit margin or […]

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How Not To Price

April 3, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Over at Legal Blogwatch, I posted about a case of outrageous billing by Debra Opri, attorney to Larry Birkhead, who claims to be father to Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter. Exhorbitant charges included thousand dollar dinners where Birkhead wasn’t present, substantial cell phone roaming charges and even expenses for personal laundry. The 112 page invoice totaled […]

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Another large firm lawyer goes solo – and it’s all about the [lower] rates

March 16, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

One of the unintended consquences of the expansion of large law firms is that this trend may drive more lawyers to start their own firms. Think about it – though large firms hope that increased size will foster economies of scale and result in savings, there’s still a whole lot of overhead involved in running […]

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What Do You Do If Your Clients Want to Lead A Revolution? Join Them, Of Course!

February 1, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Over at my Legal Blogwatch beat, I wrote about Cisco GC Mark Chandler’s speech taking big law firms to task for their “guild” mentality and lack of responsiveness to clients.  You ought to read the whole post, which excerpts the speech, but Chandler argues that companies like his are concerned about legal costs, want fixed […]

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What Solos Earn

January 29, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

I came across this Salary Chart for Solo Practitioners, updated as of January 21, 2007.  I can’t say that it’s all that scientific, since it sampled 244 respondents.  But for what it is worth, according to the chart, median salary for a solo 1-4 years out is $50k, 5-9 years, $80k, 10-19 years – 82k […]

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Sometimes Price Matters – And So What If It Does?

January 12, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Believe me, as a solo who competes frequently with large firms for clients, I’d love, love, love to buy the arguments made by my blogging colleagues, Chuck Newton and Tom Collins that small firms don’t need to, and shouldn’t have to compete on price (Chuck’s post is here, Tom’s post is here).  And perhaps that’s […]

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Bill Less and Prosper!

December 9, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Yeah, yeah, I know – it’s not about price, it’s about value; talk about price and you’ll forever be haggling over cost with your clients.  I buy all of that…and yet, sometimes, clients do measure value in terms of price.  Let’s be honest – aren’t there matters where clients would hire a 700 person law […]

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When You Value Bill, Be Sure To Tell The Client

November 12, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Plenty’s been written about the evils of the billable hour; how the billable system measures time rather than value and in so doing contributes to inefficiencies and bill padding.   But criticism of value billing is harder to come by, and with the exception of David Giacalone’s writings, you don’t find much negative commentary about value […]

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More On Fee Setting from Legal Ease Blog

November 5, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Allison Shields of Legal Ease has started a series on how to set fees, with these two posts here and here.  Shields spends a good deal of time describing how lawyers examine a case up front in detail, so that you can figure out how to assign a fee.  And her advice garners compliments from […]

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Make More With Flat Fees

October 25, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Here’s a story from Small Business (10/25/06) on how one Portland, Oregon law firm, Ambrose Law Group bolstered its revenues by a whopping 85 percent, after participating in Fortune Small Business’ Money Makeover Program and converting from the billable hour to flat fee arrangements.  From the article: “Flat-fee billing is better for clients and […]

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