Inspiring, Celebrating & Empowering
Solo & Small Law Firms

Setting Fees, Getting Paid

How likely are you to get stiffed by your clients? Save yourself some aggravation and expense by taking our assessment test below:

What’s Your Risk for Getting Stiffed?

Note: this test does not apply to contingency or pro bono matters.
** I am still refining this test, so your feedback is appreciated. If you feel that your score was way off and does not reflect your “risk of being stiffed,” please let me know so that I can continue to refine the test.**

You do not have to provide your name or email to receive results!

Check all statements below that apply:

The prospective client appears to have the ability to pay for this service.
If the prospective client appears to be unable to pay the quoted fee, I either (a) offered a reduced scope of services (that will serve his needs within his budget and meet applicable professional standards) or (b) declined to accept the client.
I turn down clients with “sure thing” cases,” or who believe “money is no object” or that “lawyers are worthless, money-grubbing parasites.”
I turn down clients who ask me to work for free (in non-contingency cases).
I turn down clients who want to bargain only about price and not scope of service or terms of payment.
I requested a retainer that will cover the cost of the case and/or compensate me fairly even if client does not pay another cent.
I waited to start work until after the check cleared.
For clients who cannot pay a full retainer up front, I set up an “evergreen system,” for client to replenish a fund if it reaches a certain amount.
Where ethics rules do not allow me to put flat fees directly into my operating fund, does my retainer agreement specify a method for disbursing the fee over the life of the case.
My retainer agreement explicitly states that non-payment and/or failure to replenish the evergreen retainer is grounds for withdrawal.
I offer credit cards as a payment option (if ethically compliant).
I charge flat fees or provide estimates that explain best and worst case scenarios.
I offer different prices for different levels of service, (though ALL levels of service, low or high end, meet my professional obligations).
My retainer agreement explains to client how funds are disbursed from the trust account.
I send invoices by email.
I send invoices promptly – within same month as completion of work.
I send invoices that match the client’s payment cycles (e.g., client pays bills at end of month, send invoices at that time.
I have a process in place for quickly addressing late payments and documenting communication with clients.
I have a system for setting up payment plans if necessary.
I have a process in place for initiating withdrawal from the case where clients have not paid.
I have a lien on the file or other mechanism in place to ensure priority over other creditors.
My retainer agreement requires clients to arbitrate fee disputes or present them to a bar fee dispute panel.
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