Why Hourly Billing and Retainers Don’t Work for Estate Planning Attorneys–or Their Clients

Why Hourly Billing and Retainers Don’t Work for Estate Planning Attorneys–or Their Clients

Put a handful of estate planning attorneys or elder law attorneys in a room, and sooner or later the topic of profitability will come up—along with a list of complaints about clients and billing:

  • Small matters that blossom into large matters and were retained on a fixed fee;
  • Clients who don’t understand how much time goes into tasks;
  • Clients who want 24/7 access but don’t want to pay for it;
  • Clients who receive hourly work bills and call to ask for detailed explanations; and
  • Client appointment schedules that are either jam packed or a desert wasteland.

And then there’s the one attorney sitting back and listening, often with a smile. That’s the attorney who is running her practice using the processes and systems of a client care program. She is not complaining because her clients value the work she does, understand that what she and her team do is focused on taking care of the family, and both the attorney and her clients feel comfortable in their relationship.

When we launched our own client care program, we heard from other firms that it could not be profitable. Their programs were not, because they fell into the trap of trying to predict the amount of work they would have to perform on an hourly basis and then backed into an annual flat fee based on the number of hours needed to do the work. Or, they charged a loss leader annual fee and charged the client by the hour and bundled in a discount fee on the services provided.

That’s not a client care program. That’s re-packaging.

If you want to create a genuine client care program that transforms how you practice law, your firm’s profitability and your role as a trusted advisor, we invite you to join us as we change the field of estate planning and elder law.

This September, we are partnering with WealthCounsel and ElderCounsel to offer our Foundations Workshop on September 20 – 21 in Orlando Florida.  Click here for details and registration.

For a closer look, here’s a great summer read: How an Ordinary Lawyer Creates and Sustains an Extraordinary Client Care Program.

Are you ready to take your practice to extraordinary?™ We can show you how.