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Three Reasons Hourly Billing Is for the Birds

ring-948023_1280-1Chances are you already know this. You struggle to capture all of your time.  You spend the end of the day going through your time records to ensure that you’ve billed your clients for every minute you can.  And, like every other attorney, you probably hate doing it.  Yet, what other option is there?  Attorneys have been billing hourly since the dawn of time and who are you to blow against the wind?  Well, I’m here as a testament to the fact that you can get away from the billable hour and it will change your life – and your practice – for the better.  You have to get away from billing  hourly for three reasons.

  1.  Clients hate it.  You want happy clients, don’t you?  You want them to refer you their friends and family members.  You want them to leave you glowing reviews on Google, AVVO, and social media. My experience has been that clients who don’t feel like they’re constantly receiving invoices are much much happier clients.  They want to be able to ask you a question without having to worry about getting an invoice. They want to be able to give you a quick update and not worry that the meter is ticking.  If you figure out the average amount of time you put into a specific type of case, you can figure out what an appropriate flat fee would be for that type of case.  For you litigators who are thinking “there’s no way I could do that” – you can bill flat fees for stages of the case.  
  1.  It slows you down.  You already know this.  When you have to stop, calculate the amount of time you spent on a specific task, and write it down, it takes time.  It interrupts you when you’re trying to get into another file to keep working.  These small interruptions result in a huge decrease in productivity when you look at it over a day.  Assuming you touch ten cases per day, you are spending approximately 30 minutes of your day keeping track your billable hours. This means you’re getting home a half hour later, spending less time doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.  And that’s at only ten cases per day.  Chances are that you work on a lot more than ten.  And you wonder why you spend so much time at the office?  Billable hours are likely part of that reason.
  1.  You hate it. Let’s be honest – no one would keep track of their time like this if they didn’t have to.  It slows you down, it stresses you out, it gives your boss a reason to yell at you.  

Billable hours are for the birds.  Fortunately, there’s a growing group of attorneys who are moving away from the billable hour and we are proving that it works!  

Discover how you can start creating a practice that works for you

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About the Contributor
Geoff Hoatson
Geoff Hoatson is an estate planning and elder law attorney who founded the Family First Firm in Orlando, Florida. He attended Emory University School of Law and focused exclusively on advanced strategies for helping families protect their children, their senior parents, and their assets. Geoff is a member of Wealth Counsel, Elder Counsel, and regularly speaks in the community - educating laypersons as well as professionals about estate planning and asset protection.

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