Most lawyers’ billings are “features” billings. This is what I did and these are the days I worked and this is what you owe me. Billings, in my opinion, get you better results when you prepare a “value” billing. What are the results of your effort for the client.

Sometimes that’s not possible, for example, when you bill for a telephone call to set up an appointment. Other times, it’s obvious such as when you have a negotiating conference call with opposing counsel — what did the client get for your effort?

Clients want to know what they’re getting for your effort. That’s the scary part, because sometimes our effort doesn’t produce value for the client … and then the client scratches her/his head and wonders why they’ve hired a lawyer. But, in most situations, we can find some value, even if it’s only a reduction in the “loss” to which the client would otherwise be exposed.

I would suggest that the effort/value be accompanied by the date and time worked, rather than inserted at the end of the billing.

And if you’re taking money from the client trust account, there should be an automatic transfer mechanism created in your engagement agreement for you to do this …


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