This is the third in a series of posts featuring tips and insight from Carolyn Elefant of MyShingle.com. Carolyn was the featured speaker at our November Solo by Choice CLE. The overflow audience came away with some great advice. including how to get paid and how to maximize revenue:
Seven Tips for Getting Paid Now
- Make payment easy by accepting credit cards. (But read my blog post first.)
- Use “evergreen” retainers requiring the client to replenish the trust account.
- Keep rates affordable. Don’t price yourself out of the market, but don’t charge too little either or you won’t be in business long. Know your client’s budget and research fees through sources like AVVO and PACER. Use tools like Freelance Switch’s hourly rate calculator to gauge your costs in relation to your fees. (My two cents: the best source for data on hourly rates charged by Oregon lawyers are the Oregon State Bar Economic Surveys.)
- Offer flat fees whenever possible. Flat fees give clients the ability to plan and set funds aside. (See my blog post.)
- Leverage efficiencies to make flat fees work.
- Value bill for your time when you have a rush job or complicated issue.
- Always research alternate sources for paying your fees. Does the case or claim qualify for a statutory or contractual fee award? Will the client’s insurer pay?
Increasing Your Revenue Stream
- Unbundle. Sell a piece of your service. Educate yourself on ethical constraints and potential malpractice issues first.
- Consider offering “toll bridge” agreements. For a flat fee, the client receives ongoing “legal checkups.”
- Turn your knowledge into a product you can repurpose and sell, including eBooks, training packets, and Webinars.
- Earn quick cash by working on law-related activities, doing contract work, court-appointed work, or teaching. As a part-time adjunct professor you can build new contacts. You may also get access to resources you would otherwise not be able to afford.
Carolyn’s presentation is available now on the PLF Web site for $30. Select Programs on Audio or Programs on Video. When you order the program, you will receive a copy of Carolyn’s book, Solo by Choice, along with her slides and CD/DVD. A nice stocking stuffer perhaps?