Marketing with Legal Bills

Oh those horrible bills.  We love doing the legal work…but dread sending out the bills.  The only task worse than billing is actually reminding clients to pay the bills.

Did you ever think of remaking your bills into a marketing tool?  Your legal bills can be a platform for demonstrating your value to your client through an impressive description of the services rendered.

Quick tips:

1.  Describe the legal work succinctly but fully enough to show your firm’s thoroughness.  Help the client understand what he is paying for:  your expertise.

2.  Highlight the problems that you solved, noting that they are resolved.

3.  List any complimentary services, such as “10 minute conference call on 7-1-06:  No charge.”  

4.  Do not charge for anything that did not convey real value.  For example, do not charge for introductory “meet and greet” sessions.

5.  Identify any unresolved issues that need more attention, such as:  “Initial teleconference about potential Indonesian trademark issue, and need for further discussions on matter.”  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.  Whenever possible, reduce any charges for expenses like faxes and couriers.  Clients often resent paying for expenses, especially if lawyers use them as “profit centers”.

7.  Be sure and use the billing format that the client prefers, and send the bill to the correct recipient.  Incredibly, lawyers often overlook these details.  Call the client to confirm these details if you are not sure.

8.  Do not include surprise charges or expenses without alerting the client to these first in person (best), by phone (second best) or email.

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