Oh thoseÂ horrible bills.Â We love doing the legal work…but dread sending out the bills.Â The only task worseÂ than billing is actually remindingÂ clients to pay the bills.
Did you ever think of remaking your billsÂ into a marketing tool?Â Â Your legal billsÂ can beÂ a platform forÂ demonstrating your valueÂ to your clientÂ through an impressive description of the services rendered.
1.Â Â Describe the legal work succinctly but fully enough to show your firm’s thoroughness.Â Help the client understand what he is paying for:Â your expertise.
2.Â Highlight the problems that you solved, noting that they are resolved.
3.Â Â List any complimentary services, such as “10 minute conference call on 7-1-06:Â No charge.”Â Â
4.Â Do notÂ charge for anything that did not conveyÂ real value.Â For example, do notÂ charge for introductory “meet and greet” sessions.
5.Â Identify any unresolved issues that need more attention, such as:Â “InitialÂ teleconference about potential Indonesian trademark issue, and need for further discussions on matter.”Â This will remind client to pursue the matter with you–and also give you an excuse to follow up with the client directly about it.
6.Â Whenever possible, reduce any charges forÂ expenses likeÂ faxes andÂ couriers.Â Clients often resent paying for expenses, especiallyÂ if lawyers use them as “profit centers”.
7.Â Be sure and use the billingÂ format that the client prefers, and send the bill to the correct recipient.Â Incredibly, lawyers often overlook these details.Â Call the client to confirm these details if you are not sure.
8.Â Do not include surprise charges or expenses without alerting the client to these first in person (best), by phone (second best) or email.