YourABA July 2012 Masthead

5 smart billing practices to keep
good clients

A client opens your bill and is perplexed by the charges. If it's an existing client, perhaps he or she is left wondering about price increases. A new client might be struggling to understand why everything costs so much.

Laura A. Calloway, director of the Alabama State Bar's Practice Management Assistance Program, says by making a few tweaks to your billing process, you can reduce your risk of losing business over dollars and cents. In a recent issue of Law Practice Magazine, Calloway offers five management practices to avoid billing problems.

  • Regularly review your internal costs for various services and evaluate how those costs compare with what you are charging, the benefits to your clients and their ability to find a cheaper firm or to do the work themselves.
  • Always discuss the cost of handling new work, even if it's for a long-standing client. If the client doesn't ask about the cost, it's the lawyer's responsibility to bring it up.
  • Let existing clients know upfront about price increases. Don't let the change be a surprise.
  • Send your bill as soon as services are rendered. That will give the client time to make objections or to avoid payments being applied to additional work.
  • If a certain type of work isn't profitable, tell the client so that he or she can make other arrangements. This is preferable to charging an unreasonable fee for the unwanted work.

To read the full article, click here.

Law Practice Magazine is a publication of the Law Practice Management Section.

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