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Taking Care of Business
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Old August 8th, 2007, 05:55 PM   #16
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Kevin,

Attorney's bill at a quarter of an hour. (A few by the 10 minute.) If I call and ask a question that takes them five minutes to answer, I'm billed a quarter of an hour. Because THAT'S WHAT THE SERVICE of answering that question is worth. It's worth it to me to pay $75 dollars for that piece of legal advice, whether it takes them five minutes or 14 to give it. It's a SERVICE industry.
I'm not paying for the time it takes them to answer the question in particular, I'm paying for 15 minutes of their expertise. Might take them two minutes, might take them ten. If it goes over 15, I'm into the next quarter hour.

When I sell my 'day rate', it's a rate based on what I need to make it worth my while to go on a set and provide either the expertise (Or a combination of expertise and equipment) - "For a day". Sure, there are 'bulk options'. It's possible to get 'five for three' or 'seven for five' just like in rental situations. There is savings to be had in booking.

Am I willing to compromise? Maybe. Depends on the situation. Maybe I see ongoing work with this client. Maybe I see some sort of trade-off in goods or services that can be arranged. But the stated rate is a day rate.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 06:01 PM   #17
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I'm not disagreeing with you Richard. I think that you're spot on...
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Old August 8th, 2007, 06:50 PM   #18
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For Kevin, and everyone.

I wrote a bunch of stuff, but just threw it away. Because this is really pretty simple to my thinking.

If you want to sell time, fine. You have your personal inventory. It's not known, but it's finite. You'll never get more of it. I hope you sell it wisely.

If you want to uncap your earning potential, my advice it so find a way to charge, not for your diminishing stock of TIME, but for the results you achieve for your clients with your work.

Unlike time-based billing, such a system has no limits beyond your own abilities.

Good luck.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:12 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Richard Alvarez;725725]Kevin,

Attorney's bill at a quarter of an hour. (A few by the 10 minute.) If I call and ask a question that takes them five minutes to answer, I'm billed a...

SNIP.

Actually, Richard, I'm not sure that's really accurate.

While successful attorneys do generate and track time-based billing for some purposes - I don't think that that's always where their real income is generated.

I could be wrong, but I *think* many attorneys and business law firms commonly use a system of RETAINERS to generate significant parts of their ongoing income. That's a laywer or law firm making themselves available to a client on an exclusive basis (relavent to a class of matters) should that client need their expertise and advice.

And, of course, in areas like personal injury stuff - attorneys that often do REALLY well, don't work "hourly" at all, but rather participate in a system of "judgement sharing", essentially partnering with their clients to share the financial results of successful litigation.

Which is pretty much what I'm proposing - decoupling your income from your hourly efforts in the hopes you can break free of the limitations of hourly thinking.

I would suspect that the money generated by by retainers and judgement sharing methods is generates more than the hourly billing stuff.

But I'm just guessing.

Paul Tauger (Hi Paul!), or other practicing attorney regulars here - want to weigh in on this with actual informed opinion?
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #20
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Thanks Bill. I didn't quite know where you were going at in the beginning, but the "Judgment Sharing" analogy explained it quite well, for me. It's an interesting idea...

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:59 PM   #21
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My wife is an attorney, and has worked for a few of the largest law firms in America. They bill and track hours very, very carefully. Yeah, they make money all sorts of ways as well including taking IPO's as part of their service agreements. (Which goes to my point of being willing to 'make a deal' on the rates.)

My point being that 'hourly efforts' is not the best way to bill your services. That you can break it down into any sort of increment you want- the service may or may not come out exactly to the 'hour'. But really what you are selling them is a SOLUTION to their problems. Bill for the production if you are selling the whole package. Bill by the day-rate if you are selling them you 'service' and require a time element. And in my case, I don't break my 'days' down into half day increments. As we've pointed out, it's not effective.

Essentially we agree on the same point.
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