Offer Alternatives To Your Clients
If you want to succeed as an independent lawyer, and I know you do, then offering exemplary client care has to be a part of your practice.
One area where you can really make an impression with your clients is in your billing options.
I’ve written on this subject to provide you with as many helpful tips as possible, which you can view here.
Billing by the hour will continue to be the standard in our profession, but more and more people are requesting alternative fee arrangements in order to access the services they need.
By adhering to this demand, you will continue to attract a steady flow of clients and increase your reputation positively.
Let’s have a look at some of the popular options being used.
Fixed or Flat Fee
Perhaps the most popular alternative fee arrangement, and the most straight-forward, is the fixed or flat rate fee.
This is best for the kind of routine legal services that you are extremely familiar with.
You want to offer this arrangement when there is little chance of complications or unexpected costs that could arise that you will have then have to cover out of pocket.
The obvious advantage to the client is that they are paying up front, and don’t have to worry about receiving higher than expected invoices.
This takes the stress out of their experience, and allows you to put your skills to use with extra incentive.
This arrangement is popular in the personal injury claims and workers’ compensation area.
This happens to be my particular field of practice.
In this model, your firm assumes all risk until a settlement is reached, upon which you collect on your percentage.
Again, this offers reassurance to your client as they don’t have to worry about facing a large and unknown bill down the road.
It also gives you the incentive to engage in the best possible performance.
This arrangement is based upon how the client and firm decide to define what results will constitute “success.”
The client is then charged a reduced base fee up front, and pays an additional fee if the outcome of the case meets their definition of success.
The firm shares in the downside (reduced base fee) and the upside (additional fee for successful outcome).
The upside for the client is a lower base fee and incentivizing the firm to obtain a successful outcome.
Another popular fee arrangement that occurs when a client pays a fixed recurring fee over a period of time, thus ‘retaining’ the services of the lawyer.
Upon completion of the agreed upon period of time, both parties can take the opportunity to review their arrangement, and renew if desired.
For the client, this arrangement provides predictable costs and assures the availability of the attorney.
For the lawyer, it guarantees a fixed amount of income.
Typically speaking retainer agreements usually run for one year with a fixed monthly fee.
Having alternative fee arrangements on offer to your clients and prospective leads shows your flexibility and your willingness to provide opportunities for people to make use of your services.
This can only bolster your reputation, which as you know, is one of your most valuable possessions and will secure you a continual client base.
Remember, your next best client is the one you already have, and the one after that is a referral.
Until next time!