OK. So the title of this post brought you in. You couldn’t resist. How can GAL love hourly billing?
The answer is pretty simple and straightforward. Our competitors who bill by the hour regularly piss off their clients so much, that those clients switch their services to us.
This morning, I received a call from someone who had another local firm handling their IP work. She explained that she had received a letter from that attorney indicating that an additional filing with the trademark and patent office was coming due. The last line of the letter indicated that “the letter was free of charge.” The client contacted the attorney to ask what the fee was. This telephone call and the resulting follow-up letter resulted in $200.00 in additional billing. Just to find out what the filing fee is for a rudimentary process at the trademark and patent office?
We of course hear these stories all the time. We always encourage attorneys who are billing by the hour to never bill for client phone calls or administrative type letters. These always piss off clients. If the call or letter was important enough, it will most certainly end up generating additional work which is substantive. That substantive work can be billed for.
The best part about our alternative billing approach is that our clients can contact us at any time and speak to us as long as they want for no fee. We have eliminated the walls between us and our client which would otherwise tend to preclude client contact. Again, if it is an important enough conversation or letter, there will most certainly be work coming your way. The old saying “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered” applies to hourly billing as well. Of course, we love the hogs. Their clients typically end up at our door.