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Talking about Hourly Billing is Like Dredging up Bad Memories

All Client Value Should Be Visible: GAL Radio Spotlight

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Launch Radio Player! If you were to check the hourly billing entries of many lawyers against the file, you would see a tremendous amount of activity, which is not reflected by any documentation.  In cases where there is documentation (such as a research memo), there isn’t a follow-up to the client providing them with the results of billed services. 

One of the benefits of an extranet system is that literally every piece of documentation, research, analysis, threaded discussion, digital files, etc. is uploaded into the system.  Moreover, we take the approach that you can’t provide value unless it is documented.  Our deliverables on the front-end are documented.  Moreover, we always take the background facts, cases, leverage, risk/reward analysis, strategy, and recommendations and put them into a mind map or other documented analysis for the client to understand.  In short, one of the deliverables is always a sit down or GoToMeeting with the client to go over the project deliverables and outcomes.

Clients have no appreciation for paying for time entries on an hourly billing sheet.  Clients have no problem paying for defined deliverables that are documented on the front-end and back-end.  Moreover, educating clients about the issues involved in a particular matter is an often overlooked value item from the client’s perspective.  Most clients aren’t looking for a lawyer to tell them what to do. They are looking for a lawyer to help them understand their business problem, give them several options, and help them think strategically about which options make sense for their business based on their unique goals.

Part of being transparent is allowing the client to see value at every step along the way.  A client that pays up front for a defined set of deliverables actually fulfilled tends to be an extremely happy client.  A client who receives an hourly bill with all kinds of time entries at the back-end which they don’t understand and, more often than not, question, is a typically unhappy client.

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