Charging for emails – How to lose $80,000 per year

Larry Bodine in his excellent Blog on marketing, highlights a comment I made in our new Special Report concerning business competencies needed to be successful lawyers.

He cites a personal experience with a law firm that charged him $102 to listen to a voice mail message and, rather than credit this amount when Larry complained, told Larry to find another law firm to do his work.

Larry’s story is an excellent example of lawyers’ lack of sensitivity to the wishes/needs of clients. Can you imagine losing a 5 year client with more business in the future over $100? … I’m sorry, $102! … They would gladly have discounted the billed rate if asked, but got all hung up over a request not to be charged for emails.

In today’s world, with major corporations dictating what they will and won’t pay for, I can’t imagine this happening. But, I’m sure it still does somewhere.

When responding to emails (and even voice mail messages to a lesser extent) about litigation and transactional matters, this is legitimate work that frequently gets forgotten by lawyers for billing purposes because of the speed of response … and the failure of lawyers to note their effort in their time logs.

Bottom line lesson: Lawyers lose revenue when they don’t bill; speed of response frequently causes lawyers to overlook the need to note their time. When on a billable hour system, this oversight can be very costly to the lawyer.


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