Now that you’ve read the title, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve worked for a large firm, so you know that I’m wrong. You are a litigator and know there’s no way to make good money if you aren’t making your billable hours. But here’s a secret – the billable hour model is the reason you’re not taking home your hourly rate. Certainly, there are areas of law where you have to bill hourly. However, estate planning is not that area. Estate planning lends itself to the flat fee model. This is because the client does not care how many hours you put into drafting their estate plan. What they care about is having a plan that will work the way they want it to, whenever they finally need it to. When you bill flat fees, it doesn’t matter whether it takes you one hour or five hours to draft your client’s plans, they already know what they’re paying and you know what you’re getting. This brings me to the best part of the flat fee model – your clients will LOVE it! I cannot tell you how many times clients have cautiously asked me “how much is all of this going to cost?” only to be relieved that it’s a flat fee which they can afford. Let’s face it, people don’t want to give a blank check to an attorney. Knowing what they’re going to pay makes it easier for your clients to budget and – most importantly – hire you for something that they know they need.
How do I know this is true? Well, I’m living it. I’m rarely in the office after 5:00 p.m. I eat dinner with my family every night. I get to focus on helping my clients protect the things they love and then go home and spend real quality time with the people I love. It’s a better lifestyle than I could have imagined when I initially made the decision to quit doing family law and focus exclusively on estate planning, elder law, and probate. I’m sure you’re wondering how I bring business in. I have a very robust referral network and I spend most breakfasts or lunches doing marketing with the people who send me business. I also host appreciation parties for my clients and referral sources. This keeps me and my firm in the front of their minds whenever they hear of someone needing our services.
I’m sure you’re wondering what this all looks like financially. Well, I’m not going to specify my firm’s revenues, but I can tell you that over the past two years (during which I shifted my focus from family law and estate planning to exclusively estate planning) my firm had a 50% growth in revenues year over year. That’s right, in 2014, we did 50% more than we did in 2013. And in 2015, we did 50% more than we did in 2014. While I’m not certain that we’re going to be able to grow an additional 50% this year, I am confident that we’ll continue substantial growth in 2016.
Take the leap. You, and your family, will be glad you did.