Lawyers are apparently the scourges of the earth!
It is because of the work that they do? No!
It is because they charge by the millisecond for every breath that they take; it is because they charge two Pounds for a photocopy and fifty pence for a paper clip.
It is because they estimate £2500 for a legal brief, demand a full retainer and then charge twice that on the final bill.
Let me give you a real world example.
I was asked by a friend to accompany her to a lawyer to discuss a family matter. The lawyer knew that I was a friend and not directly involved. I sat and listened. I thought the lawyer was helpful and competent and as a result I sent a two-line email to the lawyer thanking her for her professionalism and expertise.
When my friend received her final invoice there was a charge: ’15 minutes for reading thank you email from friend’
This is why people hate lawyers!
Not because they are the sharks of the business world but because they nickel and dime us in ways we could not even imagine!
Shakespeare wrote, “First thing we do is kill all the lawyers.” I am not sure but I think the character was reacting to their billing system.
Lawyers have a serious public relations issue and it is their own entire fault!
It really is a result of a poor business model.
Lawyers are the only professionals that charge by the hour and this keeps us focused on what they are doing for the money they demand rather than the result they are delivering.
Honestly, lawyers are extremely hard-working. The legal professional is really the only one that I know where senior experts regularly work sixty hours and more a week. There are a few big guns making millions but the average City lawyer is making £65-85,000 a year.
Not that much really!
Lawyers could improve their image, lower their costs, and dramatically increase profits in one step.
Stop billing by the hour and start billing by value delivered.
“I will manage your problem and get you this result for this price.” Simple! This moves the customer away from watching the clock!
Now, I appreciate that projecting fees for some very complex criminal cases may be difficult but an experienced lawyer knows what is involved in most cases.
As a business consultant, I never quote an hourly rate. The fact is that I consider that I charge for what I accomplish (my expertise) not for my time.
I knew a man who faced a difficult criminal fraud case. His lawyer, a QC with amazing connections, quoted him a flat £50,000. The man paid and served three days in jail. He knew it probably involved less than a couple of days of the lawyer’s work to get the negotiated arrangement and he didn’t care – the result mattered!
Do you charge by the hour? Why? Is it really necessary?
No matter what your business, charge for the result not by the hour – a clean home £100, a limousine trip to the airport £120, to paint a room £175.00 – focus on the result and everyone is happy!
“You quoted this for that, I got that, and life is good!”
P.S. Some of my best friends are lawyers – no, really!