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Raising Fees: Let the Good Times Roll
From:
Edward Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC -- Law Firm Management Expert Edward Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC -- Law Firm Management Expert
Los Angeles , CA
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

 
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Raising Fees: Let the Good Times Roll

No one likes to pay more money than previously for anything, whether it is a bottle of shampoo, a pound of meat, or the services of a lawyer. However, there are times when it works well for a lawyer to raise his fees.

A Big-Ticket or Break-the-Company Case

In a big-ticket or break-the-company case, price doesn't seem to matter. The client's options are limited, and the perception of need—and therefore of value—is high. When well-known, big-time litigators ask hundreds and hundreds of dollars per hour, major corporations aren't likely to balk because their matters are serious and they want whomever they perceive to be the best, price notwithstanding.

A Hot Economy

When the economy is hot, it is a good time to raise your fees. When people are doing well financially, prices of goods and services are reviewed less carefully because additional income is always "just around the corner" to pay the bill.

Business Bursting at the Seams

When you have more business than you can handle without expanding, you don't want to expand, so you can safely raise fees. You may lose a few clients, but you generally won't care because you are already at your desired maximum.

Client Perception of Fair Fees

When clients say your rate or total fee is more than fair, you can conclude that your fee structure is at the lower end of the fee spectrum in comparison to your competitors. It seems, then, that there is room to raise your fees with minimal client resistance.

Lower End of Fee Spectrum

When other lawyers send you business because the client won't pay their rates, it is likely time to raise your fees. These lawyers are unwilling to accept the lower fee that the client expects to pay them.

Comfort Zone

When you have found your comfort zone, you can safely raise your fees. In other words, when you can stop laughing at the new fee you're contemplating, it is time for a fee increase.

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