The Importance of Legal Blogging in 2015

In 2015, a blog is standard practice for websites. Creating blog content is not just busy work or filler: a useful and well maintained blog is a valuable marketing tool for attorneys.

According to a survey conducted by Hubspot, 81 percent of businesses find their company blogs “useful,” “important,” or “critical.” 25 percent find their company blog is “critical” to their business.

However, maintaining a blog takes time—a difficult commodity for many attorneys. What are the major benefits of blogging?

A blog positions you as an expert in your field. Regularly discussing relevant legal topics reinforces your credibility to potential clients and site visitors. Regularly researching and analyzing current issues keeps you knowledgeable on legal developments and familiar with concerns your clients face.

Your firm’s blog acts as an indirect sales pitch to potential clients. Consumers initially visit your blog for information, but might find the less-formal tone of your blog more welcoming than generic bio pages.

Moreover, when pairing your blog with social media outlets, blogging is a great way to personally reach out to readers and potential clients. When readers connect to your content, they’re more likely to share your posts, as well.

Fresh blog content also helps boost your search engine results. When potential clients search “single mother attorney help” instead of “pro bono attorney,” your blog post on the topic will surface and guide the reader to your website.

So where’s a good place to start?

One of the simplest ways to focus a blog post is by creating lists. Readers will have an immediate understanding as to what they’re about to read just by the headline. Additionally, bullet points relay information quickly and are easy on the eyes.

Another popular strategy is basing blog posts off of current events. Recent legal stories involving celebrities and big name companies can grab audience attention quickly. Using a current news event as an opener can make blog posts timely and more interesting.

Also, if applicable, bring polls and statistics into your content. Posts with relevant information from recent statistics or polls are easy to read quickly—they’re also easy to write up and share via social networks.

Good blogging takes practice, just like constructing a good legal argument. The more you post, the better you’ll get—and the better your chances bringing potential clients to your website.

Mobile Search on the Rise in 2015: Is Your Site Optimized?

Customers are most likely to consult the internet to find and research an attorney before making a final hiring decision, according to a survey.

The 2014 report found that 38 percent of people surveyed said they would use the internet to find an attorney. Twenty-nine percent said they prefer to ask a friend or relative for a recommendation when seeking a lawyer.

These numbers are quite different from a FindLaw survey conducted in 2005:


“The Internet provides a faster, easier, and more thorough method to find an attorney, compared with the alternatives,” said Stephen Noel, the Vice President of Strategic Development and Audience at Thomson Reuters. “Friends or relatives may only know a limited number of attorneys, and those attorneys may not specialize in the areas of law where help is needed.

Bearing this in mind, eMarketer found that mobile search will exceed desktop search in the year 2015.

The digital research firm estimates by the end of 2015, 70 percent of U.S. search inquiries will be made on a mobile device.

eMarketer did find the ROI (Return of Investment) on mobile search still lagged behind desktop search, but predicts a more precise mobile performance will help push that profit.

With search trends on the cusp of a major shift, it’s important to analyze what kind of experience your firm’s website provides for potential clients.

Is your mobile site simple? Is it uncluttered? Is it easy to navigate? Can visitors read your content easily? KISSmetrics provides a good starting point for mobile website optimization tips you should consider.

Remember, more and more potential clients will be using the internet to find legal assistance—and more and more customers will be using their smartphones to research and decide on representation. Make sure your mobile website is optimized and converting viewers into clients.

December Sees Lower Number of Elective Lawsuits

The holiday season has begun with the advent of Thanksgiving and focus shifts from turkey platters to wrapped presents. With the bustle of upcoming celebrations, December traditionally tends to be the slowest month for lawsuit filings.

Many attorneys notice a downshift in activity at the end of the year and we here at Total Attorneys notice the trend as well.

The total number of U.S. bankruptcy filings for 2014 is forecasted to be less than one million for the first time in seven years. This trend correlates to a general decrease in bankruptcy filings since 2010, according to a Fitch Ratings report.

Between 2011 and 2013, bankruptcy filings dropped by more than 10 percent each year. Fitch contributes the decline to a reduction in unemployment and an improvement in the economy and housing market.

However, year over year, filings are usually lowest in the fourth quarter—especially due to the December holidays, according to data from the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Between 2013 and 2014, Total Attorneys saw the least amount of bankruptcy inquires between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as evidenced by 2013 and 2012, respectively:

11262014_BNKgraph_2013 11262014_BNKgraph_2012

The drops in Q4 are Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively. (The large increase in the summer of 2013 is related to Detroit’s bankruptcy filing.)

While it’s logical to assume bankruptcy filings greatly increase due to holiday debt, keep in mind there are waiting periods between creating debt and filing for bankruptcy to prohibit fraud.

Additionally, Total Attorneys receives the least amount of personal injury inquiries at the end of the year. Total Attorneys sees a generally steady back and forth most of the year, but a large dip in requests at Thanksgiving and Christmas (again, 2013 and 2012 respectively):

11262014_INJgraph_2013 11262014_INJgraph_2012

The end of the year is culminated in celebrations with family and friends in a myriad of holidays. With the bustle of holiday events and parties, many consumers put their legal matters aside to relish the festivities with loved ones.

While there’s no best time to file an elective lawsuit, such as bankruptcy and injury, trends show a traditional slow in December and a decent turnaround in January. Make sure your firm is prepared to assist the increase of business that will come at the beginning of the year.

Awarded Most Innovative Legal Product 2012

TechnoLawyer Newswire Community

We are pleased to announce that Total Attorneys has been awarded the top 2 honors for most innovative legal products of the year 2012, from

TechnoLawyer, a critically-acclaimed legal technology resource, has announced their list of the most innovative legal products of the year. Total Attorneys has been awarded the two top spots for our Practice Management Platform and App Store. The awards were announced in the Dec. 14th edition of the TL NewsWire. To view the awards or to sign up for the newsletter please visit the TechnoLawyer site.

TechnoLawyer awarded Total Attorneys their awards for most innovative products of the year based on several criteria. TechnoLawyer recognized Total Attorneys products as exceptional, based on pricing, ease of use and product design / marketing. TechnoLawyer acknowledged Total Attorneys commitment to servicing clients in a cost effective and flexible manner. Total Attorneys was also awarded for an innovative, down to earth marketing strategy that was designed to help democratize their offerings for all law firms.

TechnoLawyer reviewed 205 new products this year and considered all for their awards. The award winners were chosen by lawyers and not by the publication staff. Tracking user interest on their site, TechnoLawyer allowed visitors to vote with their feet. The most interesting products were determined by counting visits of their users to the pages about these 205 products.

More visitors chose the Total Attorneys Practice Management Platform and App Store, than any of the other products!

Thank You from Total Attorneys

This means we owe you a thank you, thank you for considering Total Attorneys and taking interest into our products.

As the year winds down, we want to assure you that we have big, brand new offerings in the works. Early next year, Total Attorneys will be launching a brand new suite of tools for users. Tools designed to improve marketing efficiency and law firm marketplace competitiveness. We look forward to formally announcing these products in the next few months. If you would like to be notified as soon as these products are available please subscribe to our blog.

Mobile Apps Revive The Lost Art of the Thank You Card

The holidays have arrived!

Complete with music on the radio, lights strung through the trees, and the L Holiday Train is making its rounds through the Chicago loop. The holidays are a time of for tradition, but there’s one timeless custom slipping away in the fast paced technology mix we know as our daily lives. The Thank You Card.

When I first began my career it was customary to send a thank you card after every interview, a great meeting, and as a sign of gratitude when someone lent you a helping hand or gave you a gift.

When was the last time you received a handwritten note or card for any reason, business or personal?

Think about the experience when you received it. The undistracted moment you took to open the envelope, the way the stationary felt in your hand, and how the words came to life as you read the sender’s handwriting. Personal greeting cards offer a unique and memorable experience that fewer and fewer of us get to enjoy.

Giving Back

Taking the time out of your day to thank someone who matters to you, can not only return the gift of a smile to them, but also keep you in the front of their mind as someone who they connected with on a personal level.

Difficult, complicated, time consuming? Maybe, if you consider 20 seconds a lifetime. Compared to the hoops I’ve seen some jump through just for a chance to win an iPad sending a thoughtful message is much easier than you may think.

Purchasing cards in bulk, ordering branded cards with the firm’s logo or your name embossed on the face alleviates the need to run the store. Placing them on your desk, at the reception station, in your briefcase, and other obvious areas creates a visual reminder.

On the go all the time and need something faster?

The following mobile apps have mastered the process for you. With just a few taps, you’ll be sending cards to loved ones, and business contacts alike. You can even have them signed with a real pen.

ThankYouPro | @ThankYouPro | Thank You Pro on Vimeo
The clear leader for business use, choose from over 20 card designs, create your own from a photo or using your logo. For friends of Siri, dictate your message to her instead of typing. Thank You Pro screams efficiency: save multiple signatures, create card templates for future use, and send directly to your contacts.

Ink Cards | @InkCards | Ink Cards on Facebook
Choose from over 100 designs for any occasion or create your own from a photo, write a personal message and send. Fast, gorgeous and affordable. For the forgetful side of in of us, stay on top of things with built in birthday reminders. Check out their blog for cheerful ideas to make each card your own.

Have an app to share? Total Attorneys would love to hear which tech tool helps you stay ahead of the curve.

Client Intake Forms: The Basics

Last week we discussed the New Client Experience and went over processes to use when first interacting with a potential client on the phone, in your office, or through an online channel.

The next, and one of the most critical steps to increase retention but also set your firm up for long term success is intake. Properly recording, tracking and measuring the information you collect during the intake process allows you to utilize your contact list in the future to generate repeat business and referrals.

Building your Intake Questionnaire(s)

For firms that serve multiple practice areas, first define the basic information you will need for any new client. This can include, but isn’t limited to: Full name, phone, email address, home address, birthday and whether or not they have already been represented, county where the matter occurred.

Next, determine the questions you’ll need for each individual practice area. This will result in a different intake questionnaire for each segment. Family Law, Divorce and Estate Planning questionnaires may include information about the spouse, children and assets, while Bankruptcy or Tax law may require financial data.

Bar Association Intake Forms & Resources

Balancing between too much information, and just enough to get started

We’ve all been to the doctor”s office and grumble when we’re handed a clipboard of 6 sheets we are required to fill out, have of which ask for information the office already has.

Don’t overburden your clients with lots of paperwork, but do make sure to collect the most valuable pieces of information that allow you to get a jump start on the work at hand without chasing the client.

Make sure you get paid

Including billing information, even if it’s just a credit card number or a stapled voided check. Doing so upfront can save you a world of time & headaches later.

Remember that you provide a valuable service, and asking for payment information before you start racking your brain and hours is a good business habit to adopt.

Should a client raise concern about the payment information required, you can assure them that they will not be charged until you have both mutually agreed on the services to be provided and terms of payment.

Extra credit: Limited Services Engagement Agreement or Consultation Disclaimer

Consider creating a one page supplement to your questionnaires, it may be a Limited Services Engagement Agreement, or just a short paragraph covering your relationship during the consultation phase. Using an umbrella agreement up front can protect you or help convert prospects into clients even faster.

Law firms who generate business through their website, will often use such language inside of the “Terms & Conditions” section of their client portal registration page so that they can move smoothly through the online consultation without worry or having to issue an agreement and slow down an excited potential client.

Delivery: In office, online or via email?

Experts recommend attorneys avoid exchanging paperwork via unsecured email. The use of a client portal to share an intake form, or handle the consultation through a series of messages can be a convenient and secure way to exchange information.

In office visitors should be greeted by a package of ready to go paperwork. Preparing for guests the day before they arrive allows you to collate the packages you’ll need for each meeting in advance, along with a pen that works.

The Checklist

An internal lifesaver and generally good practice, complete the intake process with a practice area or case type specific checklist.

This will ensure, that not only have you collected the critical information you need, but that the firm has also completed other imperative steps. Such as; conflict & jurisdiction checks, receipt of related documents and signed consultation disclaimers, engagement agreements or payment authorization forms.

The Canadian Law Society of British Columbia has an extensive list of law practice checklists for intake and various other procedures. (Some steps may not apply to US attorneys, please consider your local bar’s guidelines.)

Collect & Organize

Whether it’s an excel spreadsheet, or full featured Practice Management System keeping track of your clients, and the information you”ve gathered in digital form is imperative.

Carrying around stacks of folders, and digging through piles of paper every time you need to find a piece of information is not being organized. Having information available to you instantly via the web or mobile device will save time and lessen stress.

If entering the information into a system, or spreadsheet just doesn”t seem to be happening, stop the pattern and get some help. There are inexpensive tools, awesome and affordable on demand support services available for any size project, or amount of daily maintenance.

Analyze and Utilize Your Data

Data isn”t just a word used by techie people. Data is a set of facts, statistics and information collected together for reference or analysis.

Properly storing then sorting the information your business collects empowers you to make educated, and impactful business decisions. Once in digital form you can start playing with reports or sorting your clients & potential clients into groups and look for areas to dig into deeper with a specific accomplishment in mind.

Here’s a quick example of the process for a Family Law practice.

Example Goal: Grow the Divorce section of my practice through a targeted email campaign

  • Sort the master contact list into two segments, potential clients & current clients
  • Separate the potential clients into a list of their own.
  • Sort the potential client list by type of potential case identifying everyone who contacted the firm for a divorce consultations, questions or related pre-filing concerns
  • Separate this group from the master list, this will be your first group of potential clients to target.
  • Refine the list further based on the message you plan to send
  • Create your message & include something unique which can be traced back to your efforts. Example: Send to the selected group with a call to action, such as “Call # to schedule a free consultation”

Timing is everything

Effectively time your communications will impact the overall success of each message. Avoid send mistakes like sending a new business email on a Friday afternoon, or an overdue invoice reminder at 8am on Monday.

Identify optimal times such as the rise in Bankruptcy filings during tax return season, divorce filings after the holidays. Paying attention to seasonal opportunities and sending reminders, or offering consultations to those groups can help you maximize the impact of your efforts.

Measure, Refine & Repeat

These steps are not one time activities. Keeping a steady stream of traffic into your business requires continued, consistent effort.

Your first campaign or round of messages may garner a few new clients or cases, but by growing your lists and tailoring regular messages to each group will generate more first hand and referral business over time.

Other ways to utilize your current & potential client data


Opening a new office? Hired a new associate? Expanding your service offerings or now offering new practice areas? Send messages to all of your contacts, or just the group who needs the update most.


Sending a newsletter to your list helps keep your law practice at the top of mind when legal needs arise.

Holiday or Seasonal Greetings

Use groups to send targeted marketing messages or offers; Small Business Legal Checkups, Trust & Estate Plan Review, Family Estate Plan Package, etc.

More Client Intake Advice

Do you have intake advice or a practice management tip to share? Please post it below!

Foster Positive Law Firm Culture Through Volunteering

The Holiday Season always reminds us to appreciate the advantages we are afforded and help those who are less fortunate. But volunteering shouldn’t be a seasonal thought, making philanthropy part of your culture or career can offer benefits and memories that you will carry with you for a lifetime.

Philanthropy as Part of Your Career

Attorneys hold one of the rarest forms of power in the professional world. The power to provide peace of mind, security, protection and long term assurance amidst life changing situations.

Providing legal services to those who cannot afford them through Legal Aid Groups, Pro Bono Organizations or offering services at drastically discounted rates is one of the greatest gifts you can give back to your community. Whether it’s taking a probate case, or helping a new business get off the ground, paying it forward will deliver immeasurable rewards to you in business and life.

Mentorship & Encouraging Charity Work

A gift for generations to come, mentorship offers so many intangible rewards. Speaking to law students around the country, one gap is abundantly clear. The need for mentorship and guidance in the early stages of their careers. Finding a law student or recent grad, who could use some help with questions like; What is Judge _____ like? When should I refer a Divorce client to a Mediator? Maybe they just needs a shoulder to cry on when the student loan bills start arriving.

Sharing just a couple of hours of your time can make a tremendous impact on a young attorney. Mentorship also provides many opportunities to encourage and instill the importance of Pro Bono work in the next generation of attorneys.

You can find mentorship opportunities through a local law school, or your Bar’s Young Lawyers Division.

Building culture & commitment through team volunteering

Transparency and communication helps you build strong relationships with your employees. Asking them what their passions are, what makes them happy, and how they like to spend their time will help you offer up projects and ideas that are best suited to their interests. If you find a group of your employees are runners, form a 5K team. Everyone loves animals! Great! Get a group together on a Friday afternoon and volunteer at a local shelter.

Giving back as a team builds stronger relationships, a greater sense of dedication and improves long term employee retention. Once a regular schedule or program is in place you’ll notice everyone’s excitement build as the volunteer day on the calendar gets closer. Rally even more volunteers leading up to the outing by sending all-office messages, placing a reminder sign & candy bowl at the office entrance, or extending the invitation to friends & family.

  • Find a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you or your team:
    • Whether is just a quick couple of hours or a day long outing with the team find opportunities through, and follow them on Twitter @VolunteerMatch.
  • Set up a company fundraising page & share it with your clients
    • Crowdrise & Stay Classy are easy to use tools that help you set up a donation page online and promote it to your contacts & social networks.

Hold a food, clothing or toy drive

One of the easiest ways to give back is to place an empty box in the front of your reception area. Next, send out regular messages about donating items leading up to the actual donation date. Finally, donate as a group! Make an event out of turning in the boxes to the cause you’ve selected, get a team picture and memorialize it in the office or on your website.

Toys for Tots | Find a Food Pantry | Seasonal Clothing Drive Ideas

Partner with a non-profit and build your own program

Finding a cause that employees and the company alike are passionate about, can be a very powerful way to collaborate and grow together. Partnering with a group to bring special volunteer projects and opportunities to your team offers benefits to the organization and it’s employees that go far beyond the bottom line.

Total Attorneys had always encouraged our employees to participate in philanthropic efforts and was searching for a cause that we could invest and grow in tandem with the business when we met Kristen Hendricks in 2008. Kristen is Executive Director & Founder of the Kwagala Project, a Chicago based organization raising awareness and combating human trafficking on the front line in Uganda.

Together with the Kwagala Project, and a team of Total Attorneys employee volunteers the Total Impact House was born. To date the Total Impact House is home to 14 inspiring girls, all with a different stories and starting new lives, fostered by education and long term support to chase their dreams.

The Total Impact House & Committee has created many opportunities for our employees to grow & learn through volunteer opportunities, organizing fundraisers, chatting with the girls in Uganda over Skype and sharing milestones through Facebook. These experiences build character, cultural perspective, and positive morale.

Don’t forget to share!

Everyone has worked hard to make a difference, share it with the world! Pictures in the office, on the firm’s website, the about us or careers section, Facebook Page, Twitter accounts, and client newsletters are all great ways to recognize volunteers and show a softer side of the business. Furthermore, memorializing the importance of participation encourages future volunteers to jump in, and lets clients know it’s not just about the invoices they receive, that the firm does care about the community and actively works to make an impact.

Back to Attorney Blog.

What’s Your New Client Experience?

The experience you receive at a clothing retailer or spa is not something you’d think to compare to the experience in a law practice.

I’m not implying you should imitate their practices, but there are a few characteristics present in those environments that can be translated into your practice with goal of turning more of your first time guests into first time clients.

Being in an attorney”s office for the first time can be one of the most unfamiliar or uncomfortable experiences in a persons life.

Depending on the surrounding circumstances they could be going through a very difficult personal situation and operating at a heightened sense of sensitivity. The efforts you make to ensure they feel a sense of comfort working with you can go a long way.

First and foremost, make sure that the initial interaction that takes place between your office and the potential client is a positive one. When and where does it happen?

An inbound call into the office in the morning should be upbeat and cheerful. Using a lighter tone, and salutations like “Good Morning” or “Thank you for calling.”

The person answering the phone should not make the potential client on the other end feel like their call is a burden, or that they are being rushed through questions quickly.

Most of all, no barking. We are have stressful positions, lives and lots of distractions but being short, or quick with someone who is calling so they can potentially help pay you, is counterproductive.

The same is true for in office appointments. The reception or waiting area of your office should be a calm and inviting place. Free of tension and welcoming to new faces.

There should be someone to kindly greet them, or if unattended clear directions on what to do when they arrive.

If you require information to be completed, have forms, pens and a clipboard ready. Don’t scramble to prepare items you know you’ll need in advance.

Separately, the front office should be treated as a respected area, discussions regarding clients, cases and office issues should be conducted in private.

A few inexpensive ways to make your guests comfortable while they wait; Offer something to drink, or if a waiting room is unattended a stocked mini-fridge with waiting instructions.

Candy, mints, or snack size bags of chips go a long way. Spending $20 – $50 is usually more than adequate depending on the size of your office.

Information, information, information. When you go the Doctor or Dentist’s office, you’ll notice the abundance of information. Brochures, TV’s set on CNN Health or specialty content networks. Allowing patients to familiarize themselves with an area before they speak to the doctor.

The same is true for your area of practice.

Maybe you place start-up books in your lobby for small business clients, or information on life after Bankruptcy for clients coming to the firm with debt issues.

Providing this self service education to them will not only help keep their mind on the topic while waiting, but may help them come to you ready with questions and an increased level of comfort about their issue(s.)

Many law libraries, bar associations and independent providers offer Consumer Brochures for free, or available for order. Specialty content also helps build your credibility as an expert when you’re able to easily answer the questions they derived from the materials.

Consumer Brochures, Handbooks and Info Sheets:

For firms that are catering to clients seeking representation for high value cases in areas such as Personal Injury, Divorce, Estate Planning, Entertainment Law or Class Action where the competition is practically waiting outside to court your clients. Going the extra mile may be the difference between you and the other firm.

Don’t Overlook Your Online Experience.

Your Website: Does your website reflect the focus of the firm? We recently spoke to Zeller Law, a Business Law Firm in Chicago, whose website is tailored to the eyes of their perfect client. It focuses on the energy of Chicago’s bustling loop, feeds business news on the homepage, and offers an online option for those who just can’t wait to get started. Put yourself in your perfect client’s shoes and identify what would make you excited about working with an attorney. Introduce yourself, and the other members of the team. The visitors of your website are trying to get to know you, withholding information and keeping the conversation dry is not going to make them pick up the phone.

Online Access

Does your firm provide multiple ways to stay in contact, or online access to files, notes and a calendar with important case milestones? Offering your clients a client portal, or can distinguish your practice from the others in the group. Potential clients seeking representation for a Merger, Acquisition or Intellectual Property case can rest assured communication will be kept private through the use of a secure and encrypted tool built for the delivery of legal services.

Extra Credit: Consumer Question & Answer Sites: Another increasingly popular meeting place are public consumer question & answer sites such as

Consumers who are searching for the answer to a legal question, which could be related to a potential case may visit these sites and post their question.

The attorneys participating can then reply to the question, creating a track record of thought leadership and expertise about their area of law. Virtually meeting with the consumer, and establishing a conversation give you the opportunity to offer an offline meeting about their situation.

What about your office or initial experience sets your law practice apart? Please share your first time guest successes with us!

Moving to Fixed Fee, Flat or Value Pricing: The Basics

Tired of pouring over time sheets and hours every month? Endless invoice negotiations with clients wearing you out? Many firms have left the billable hour behind and moved to a flat, fixed fee or value priced model. While this model might not be a perfect fit for everyone it is suitable for numerous areas of practice.

Today I’ll share areas you’ll need to evaluate to determine your firm’s potential for these models and the steps you can take to begin your transition.


It is critically important that you know or can at least estimate the average amount of time it takes you to complete a task, or series of tasks. If you are not already tracking time, do so for at least a month or a few cases to accurately gauge the time and effort it takes to execute. This includes emails sent from your couch, car ride client calls, and late night legal research.


Once you are confident in the average amount of time for each type of task or matter, add in the expenses. Really think about anything you may incur while delivering this particular service. Filing fees, court costs, parking at the courthouse, credit counseling, debtor education, etc. Planning for these now allows you to present a very clear and salable picture to your client, and avoid invoice surprises later.

Identify Common Patterns

Do you find yourself manually filling out forms or paperwork that could be automated by technology or outsourced to a virtual paralegal or support person? Small firms need to take advantage of the technology resources available to stay competitive and achieve sustainable margins. There are inexpensive solutions for document assembly, templated forms, including free do-it-yourself intake questionnaires in Google docs, which can be exported into Excel, or using a client portal to offer 24 hour options to clients who need to complete documents.

Define the “True Value” of Your Services

What’s the value a bouquet of flowers & Chinese take-out has when delivered to a mom on the edge of a kid-induced breakdown? Pretty priceless.

The cost of the services shouldn’t always drive the price of a legal matter. The value and long term peace of mind that properly delivered legal services can bring to a client should play a part in pricing. Yes it’s possible for a client to self-file Business Incorporation paperwork with the help of Legal Zoom, or templated documents they find online, or a kit from Staples. But when a lawsuit arises, partners bump heads, or a potential acquisition is on the table, it comes down to the initial planning, forethought, experience and insight the authoring attorney took into consideration when the agreement was drafted. The outcome is what we all focus on, as should you when you are explaining what is different between your $1500 start-up package, and the $175 bundle they saw online. (Should the potential client decline, feel free to remind them that your firm will still be here if something goes wrong. However rates for clean up are billed on an hourly basis.)

First Draft Pricing

Build your pricing menu. This will be a first draft, list a low end price, and a high end price for the same service. Why? Because it could potentially increase sales if clients have 2 options. When they decline the first, you can combat it with a second lower price, which may require them to participate in the process more or less such as completing forms, self-filing or communicating with you primarily online, while a higher fee offers in office meetings, phone calls, full service preparation, filing, and court costs. Multiple flat fee options allows you to capture business from both ends of your customer spectrum. Tiered pricing options have worked well for Carpenter Law P.A., a Kissimmee, Florida based Family Law firm who offers both full service and less expensive online legal options to it’s clients. Also read Jay Sheperd’s How to increase revenue 43%.


A commonly overlooked set of expenses, at any given time you should know what it costs you to operate your business. As a business owner it’s easy to commingle your personal and professional life, for most of us, there doesn’t seem to even be a dividing line. Your quality of life is an important factor to consider when pricing services, and a good way to do ensure you won’t have to worry is to account for everything; gas, cell phone, home internet, credit card interest, insurance (car and business) the coffee you had this morning, absolutely everything.


Carefully review your numbers and measure your margins. Next multiply the number of cases or services you estimate the firm will deliver in a given month by the lowest price you’ve determined you need to charge, minus expenses and overhead.This is not the number of cases you think you can get if the stars align and you get a celebrity endorsement that month. The final number provides projected revenue for the month. Are you comfortable with that number? If not play with it, move some prices up. Look for ways to shorten the preparation time necessary for cases, maybe document automation or providing intake forms to clients to speed up the consultation process.


Review your margins & overhead. Do your figures work with the first draft of your pricing guide or fee chart? Are you comfortable with your projected revenue and feel there’s enough profit to set some aside for extra marketing, or a rainy day?

Remember you can always test this pricing out with potential new clients and adjust it as you go. The transition is a process and will most likely never be complete and prices are rarely ever set in stone. Client situations are all different, and if you feel you need to charge extra to accommodate the nervous late night phone calls you know you’ll receive, raise it. Maybe a year later you’re running efficiently and have streamlined to the point you can offer packages, or incentives to new clients to generate additional business. These new pricing models are exciting and lend themselves to endless options with less headaches, take advantage, try them out and remember never to sell yourself and your expertise short.

When complete you can use your pricing menu as an internal pricing cheat sheet, or publish your rates on your website. Check out the presentation of fees by these pioneering law firms:

Still unsure if flat fee & value pricing is for you? Review some of these post for some pros & cons of alternative billing models.

From @ABAJournal | ABA

From @Lawyerist |

From @JayShep | |

From @MattHomann | |

Please share your billing successes and experience with alternative fees with us!

We’re Excited to Announce Our New Ethics Opinions & Updates Library!

Over the years Total Attorneys has been fortunate enough to work with thousands of small law firms across the country. Many of which often ask for help tracking down a recent Ethics Update or Opinion from their State Bar or the American Bar Association related to different areas of law practice, ethics and professional responsibility.

We’re happy to announce we've compiled them into one easy to search Ethics Updates and Opinions Library! Below are just a few of the topics included in the library. We encourage you to check back often as we'll be adding more opinions and updates as they are published.

We hope this resource is valuable to you as you grow your legal career or law practice! Do you have an Ethics questions, or concern you’d like to share with us?