What Your Fees Say About You As An Attorney
You learned about the Law of Supply and Demand in freshman economics. When supply increases relative to demand, downward pressure is applied to price. These days, there are more attorneys than ever. You have to lower your attorney fees to compete, right? Wrong! Lowering your fees is the last thing you should do. In fact, as an attorney, you need to be able increase your fees. Here’s why:
Discount Shoppers Are A Pain
Are you the type of attorney who enjoys fighting for the poor and downtrodden on a pro bono basis? If you are, I admire you, but I also feel sorry for you because it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be flat broke. If you enjoy being paid well and in a timely manner, and you want to be home for supper most nights of the week, I invite you to consider the following:
Clients who choose you because you are the cheapest attorney in town are not the clients you want for your practice. Generally, people who look for the cheapest attorney are of a lower socio-economic level. They are more demanding and less educated, and that means more work (and frustration) on your part. They are less likely to pay in a timely manner (or at all). Did you go to law school to become an attorney or a collection agency?
By positioning yourself as the low-cost alternative, you will work harder for less. You will need to bill more hours just to cover your overhead. You won’t be able to afford top-performing employees, and the employees you do hire will have to spend a large portion of their time dealing with demanding, unreasonable, entitlement-minded clients.
High Attorney Fees Telegraph That You Are A Good Attorney
Have you ever heard the old saying, “You get what you pay for”? This phrase is normally uttered after someone buys a knock-off product that breaks two weeks after it’s purchased. The type of clients you want are individuals who intuitively understand the “You get what you pay for” concept. They don’t worry about paying a little more if it means they are getting quality service. In fact, they view a greater-than-market price as a sign of quality. By charging more, you market yourself as one of the best. This is the type of marketing you need — not marketing that positions you as a discounter or “cheap lawyer.”
Higher Attorney Fees Make You A Better Attorney
This is not perception, it’s reality. By charging more, you’re able to handle fewer clients with fewer headaches. Rather than running a practice based on high volume, you’re able to handle high quality clients who are willing to pay a premium. This allows you more time to focus on each individual client, which makes you a better attorney because you have the luxury of spending the time that’s needed to do the research and preparation that’s necessary to adequately represent the client. As a result, your reputation among potential high-end clients grows, which allows you to eventually charge even more. Isn’t that the type of position you would like to be in?