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Wanna Get Paid?

Every little bit counts!

In reading: Keeping the Cash Flowing: A Dozen Tips for Getting Clients to Pay More Promptly by Lawyer turned Coach Debra Bruce

I noticed the number one thing I tell attorneys to do in order to keep the cash flowing was not listed.

My number one rule to getting paid regularly is to bill regularly.  Set a deadline (mine is the 7th of each month) and no matter what else is exploding around you – get the bills out by that date.

This does two things:

  1. cements with clients that when you say you’re going to do something, you do (in a way that is not directly involved in their matter); and
  2. gets each client in the habit of accepting, reviewing and paying your invoices on a schedule.

You can facilitate payment by accepting credit cards, so long as you play by the rules re: your trust account. This is why I recommend http://www.lawcharge.com.  Long-standing player in the “legal” world, LawCharge is owned by an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the merchant account world the way you do a courtroom or the law library.

I understand just how hard it is to be solo – to have to do it all and how being solo makes some routine tasks infinitely more difficult.  A standard “where’s my payment” call can easily turn into an hour long discussion about everything when all you wanted to know was when you would be paid.

This is why my second tip would be to find and build a relationship with a bookkeeper or virtual assistant, then routine billing and follow up payment reminder calls can be competently performed by someone else –  freeing up your time and removing potential stress on the attorney-client relationship should the money not be flowing as quickly as you would like.

FYI, this is not a commercial for LegalTypist as she does not offer bookkeeping nor collection (or any other) calls.  If I had a good contact in legal to recommend for the bookkeeping, I would.  Unfortunately, the best virtual bookkeeper I know – @CandyTX at http://www.offassist.com – prefers not to work with attorneys … something about how they can be difficult.  Who … what…  attorneys?!

Original post date: August 20, 2011

 

WHY LEGALZOOM SUCKS

Lawyers are not known for brevity, but LegalZoom can be summed up in two words: It sucks.

LegalZoom purports to help its unwitting customers avoid paying for lawyers by allowing users to prepare their own documents. While LegalZoom clearly warns that it is not offering legal services, it creates the misconception that for important matters like wills and incorporations attorneys aren’t necessary. Per LegalZoom, a client doesn’t need estate planning, it simply needs a will, which LegalZoom reduces to a glorified MadLib. Granted, a testamentary document replete with mentions of sexual organs, dirty words, and excretory references will probably lighten the mood at the reading. It’s also highly inappropriate, and not just because the decedent should not be allowed to bequeath his testicles to Aunt Betty.

For new businesses, LegalZoom treats incorporating not as a tool for owners but as an end itself. There’s no lawyer to explain why one might want a corporation or what entity ownership entails. Because new entrepreneurs often confuse the act of incorporating with the process of starting a business (unaware that the former is merely one small step in the latter), they generally don’t recognize and can’t use the entity as a tool for mitigating risks. By suggesting that a lawyer isn’t necessary to start a business, LegalZoom reinforces the misconception that incorporating by itself is enough.

In sum, LegalZoom encourages people to think of attorneys as glorified meter maids: Functionaries whose sole job is to complete paperwork that needlessly costs money. It feeds off the notion that all attorneys are nitpicky, word-twisting, morally compromised, overdressed, bottom-feeding sleazewads who defend killers like O.J. Simpson (which is ironic considering that ‘Dream Team’ alumnus Robert Shapiro is one of its founders). LegalZoom is to legal services what McDonald’s is to cuisine. Both are inexpensive and quickly satisfy a perceived need. They also do tremendous damage that often goes unseen until it’s way too late. If you eat enough fast food, you start to look like Grimace, the obnoxious, eggplant-shaped, morbidly obese purple blob that used to appear in McDonald’s commercials until he died either of a massive coronary or an allergic reaction to whatever it is in McDonald’s French fries that preserves them like petrified wood. LegalZoom erroneously suggests that the value in legal services is in the documents themselves. They provide their business customers with pages of useless garbage that look nice and official sitting on a bookshelf. However, if you get into an argument with a cofounder, have a dispute with a vendor, are trying to raise investment capital, or need something other than a pretty binder with a bunch of printed pages, you almost never have the resources required to proceed. Like a McDonald’s customer who gobbled down one too many Big Macs, someone must open everything up to clean the mess, and it’s expensive, time-consuming, unpleasant, completely unnecessary if you’d just gotten something better in the first place . . . and known to cause explosive diarrhea.

The value in legal services is in the advice and guidance that an attorney provides. The documents are almost an afterthought; they only codify the decisions clients have made in conjunction with counsel. Provided properly, business lawyers are a value-added service. Whether by protecting a company from lawsuits and regulatory actions, prescribing an easy remedy for ownership disputes, or just letting a founder sleep better at night knowing that his investment is protected to the extent possible, good counsel is not just a cost of doing business. LegalZoom is . . . and it is often a steep price to pay.

The Legal Trade Show Survival Guide

This podcast originally published in 2012, will help you make the most of your next legal trade show experience as Senior Law Practice Advisor with Mass. LOMAP, Jared Correia chats with Andrea Cannavina CEO of LegalTypist, Inc. about how the events have evolvoed through the years.  Topics covered include:

  • how to decide which events to attend,
  • how to network,
  • the benefits of getting involved in conference planning
  • tweeting, and much more!
Podcast: AC and JC re: conferences

2012 Podcast regarding legal tech show/conference with Jared Correia and Andrea Cannavina

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