Have you wondered how much insurance is available for your bank deposits? Despite the FDIC promotions over the years to the effect that we have only $100,000 coverage protection, we can have more than $100,000 insurance coverage. (more…)
Fee schedules have been outlawed for many years, since the matter was decided by the US Supreme Court in the 1960s. But, I have just learned that the US Government, itself, uses a fee schedule in arguing for or against fee applications (where “fee shifting” to the “prevailing party” for “reasonable attorney’s fees” is permitted by statute) and in deciding what to offer outside counsel it employs on various matters.
Two new books, reviewed in today’s USA Today, give us tools to do better, both for our clients and for ourselves:
The first is Unscrewed: The Consumer’s Guide to Getting What You Paid For. The astounding conclusion of the author flies in the face of everything I’ve been taught. Ron Burley says that the reason we get such lousy service today is because it’s cheaper to get new customers than it is to keep current customers! His statistic cited to back him up: The average call to the customer service department of cell phone companies is $20; the marketing cost to attract a new customer if $4! Then, Burley moves on to discuss techniques to make companies pay attention to you and to make good on the quality promises they make.
The next book reviewed is The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. Here, Stephen M. R. Covey, son of Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey says “Trust means confidence …” and confidence is the glue that makes everything else possible. Covey continues identifying behaviors that engender this trust:
1. Talk straight
2. Demonstrate respect
3. Create transparency
4. Right wrongs
5. Show loyalty
6. Deliver results
7. Practice accountability
8. Keep commitments
These are characteristics that make an interaction profitable as well as enjoyable.
Q: Q: How can I make my practice more profitable?
A: Businesses grow and become successful based on the growth of their customers. If you’re blessed with good fortune, you attract clients who grow, need more of your services as well as refer others to you. (more…)
Saturday’s edition of Wall Street Journal, on page B1, talks about Amtrak checking its legal billings. Several lessons result from their experience.
A coaching client of mine presented this fact pattern: He is a contract attorney, doing work for a large firm. During one of our recent sessions, we discussed his fee schedule. After some trepidation on his part, we concluded that it was time to increase his fee and we proposed a new fee schedule that included a volume discount based on a scaled number of hours per month. The managing partner responded by asking that the number of hours and the discount to be applied be reviewed retroactively at the end of each three months cycle.
What’s more important financially – how much you bill or how fast you collect?
Alternative billing is being talked about by more lawyers, though many cynics don’t believe changes will be made. Flat fee billing is perhaps the first step in the direction of change. It is more easily understood and embraced.
The challenge with any alternative fee approach is that lawyers, generally, don’t know their costs of operation. Thus, the fee figure chosen often is a “by guess, by golly” fee, not one based on a cost benefit analysis. (more…)
October 16, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Successful Lawyer-Banker Relationship: A LawBiz Special Report
Edward Poll, principal of LawBiz Management Co., announces the release of The Successful Lawyer-Banker Relationship: A LawBiz Special Report. This is the second publication in a series of Special Reports on topics of practical and major importance to the effective and profitable management of The Business of Law®, has just been released. The purchase price is $29.00, the price of all LawBiz’ Special Reports.
Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and author of Winds of Turbulence, introduces the Special Report, by declaring: “Banks are looking for profitable new niches and law firms and banks are natural allies in this new competitive world. Ed Poll’s Special Report provides attorneys with straightforward information to understand the in’s and out’s of how to build a mutually beneficial relationship with one of the most important players in any business equation, Your Banker.”
The Successful Lawyer-Banker Relationship offers guidelines on how lawyers with sole practices, small firms or mid-size firms can build mutually beneficial and effective banking relationships that are critical in helping any law firm become a more successful business. Topics covered include choosing a bank and banker, establishing creditworthiness, securing a loan, managing cash and trust accounts, and using merchant banking and other bank services efficiently.
“With our first Special Report on Business Competency for Lawyers, LawBiz began a new kind of book,” Poll states. “It’s intentionally condensed to 60 pages, an easy thirty-minute read for any busy lawyer on the go. The content is practical yet sophisticated, and provides basics for managing and running a successful law business without getting into too many nitty-gritty details, numbers, and long examples.”
Poll adds that future Special Reports will address other areas of practical and significant importance to the effective and profitable management of The Business of Law®, including work-life balance, disaster preparation and recovery, and setting legal fees.
Ed Poll is a leading authority in the field of law practice management and the Principal of LawBiz Management Co., a firm that consults with and coaches lawyers and law firms throughout the United States, Mexico, Australia and England. Poll is a Board Approved (SAC®) Coach to the Legal Profession. He is the author of several best-selling books on the topics of law practice management, including his new book, Selling Your Law Practice, released in September 2005..
Danielle Kester quotes me in her blog … and adds that even sole practitioners can take their law practice to the next level of success and profitability by using “virtual assistants” such as herself. Check it out.