As a lawyer, you don’t have widgets to sell. You have brain power. Your business model, if it is anything like most lawyers’ business models, is for you to sell your brainpower to make businesses and lives better.
If you bill by the hour, it is critical that you capture the time you spend, reduce it to an invoice, send the invoice to your client, and collect money due and owing from your client in a timely way. If you employ a different pricing strategy, you still need to get your clients to pay you. Doing this efficiently, reliably, and accurately is an ongoing challenge for many lawyers and law firms. That’s crazy to us.
Some lawyers we know don’t track their time accurately or contemporaneously. They try to go back at the end of a day, week, month, or quarter (!?!?!?) to recreate all the time they spent. Some lawyers we know don’t require clients to invest a retainer fee at the front end of the work. Some lawyers we know don’t know which clients have outstanding accounts and have no systems or procedures in place to collect aged accounts receivable.
Your law firm isn’t going to be like that, though. That’s why you’re going to develop systems, procedures, and processes for entering time, reviewing time entries, editing time entries, preparing bills, reviewing and revising bills, sending bills, collecting on bills, and systematically reminding clients about unpaid bills. This industry is hard enough as it is. Don’t make it harder by not getting paid for the work you’ve done.