I came across the phrase “The Marquis de Sade approach to billing clients: ‘Bill them till they scream’” in Ori Wiener’s ‘High Impact Fee Negotiation and Management for Professionals: How to Get, Set, and Keep the Fees You’re Worth’ (a book a highly recommend). It made me laugh, and got me to thinking:
‘What would be some of the things I would want to be looking out for in a law firm’s invoice?
So here’s a quick list of my 10 things, but feel free to add your own 🤪 :-
Being charged [for]:
- Expenses/disbursement – especially if they are unaccounted for (and particularly on fixed fee matters)
- Travel time – especially if your lawyer is in the same town/city as you
- ‘Reading in’ time – especially when a new lawyer joins the team because one of the original team members has resigned or left the team
- Team meetings to discuss your case/matter
- Multiple lawyers attending the same meeting – especially if they have different time eateries
- ‘Out of scope’ work without a corresponding change order
- Block billing of numerous tasks without explanation
- Promotions – charge-out rates being increased for lawyers on your case because they have gain an additional year of post-qualified experience without adding any additional value
- ‘Bill padding’/‘Rounding up’ – when your lawyer rounds their time up to the next billable unit
- ‘Stickiness’ – where senior lawyers are doing work on your file that could be easily have been done by more junior lawyers, but they do it because they need to meet their internal billable targets.have different time.
As I say, feel free to add some of your own in the comments.
I am ashamed to remember the days when the photocopier was the most profitable centre in the firm. Most of your list Richard is not a problem for firms (and their clients) that price up front save out of pockets and as you mentioned Out Of Scope if not agreed beforehand.Counsel and any experts fees if they charge by time are one’s to look out for as well.
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