I have previously confessed that I am an Apple Mac loving lawyer, and in my office I have all but converted the flock.  Only the former judge among us insists that the Dark Empire (Microsoft) produces the perfect "professional" pc.  Last week she said so while I helped her pack up the Vaio for another cross-country trip to that great Sony service center.  "It just won’t run – probably a reaction to the Macs in this place."

But enough about Microsoft – if you hate the way lawyers bill (and most lawyers hate this too), consider the great blog post by Jay Shephard at his site The Client Revolution.  A lot of lawyers bill by the hour – so a simple five minute phone call can cost a client a tenth of an hour’s time – and remember – "time is money." So a $300 hourly rate means that goofy five minute call ("can you tell me why that stupid judge set my trial for opening day of elk season?") can cost you $30.  That is the same amount of money you might spend for six 12-inch Subway sandwiches (chips and drink not included).  The point for us lawyers is that this kind of billing only benefits US.  And clients hate that!

Apple Stores serve up value – as Shephard describes. They want to make your "experience" better than that you get from other computer makers.  A simple "can I help you with that iPhone cover" can generate (given time) the sale of a Macbook Air laptop. The Macbook Air is a thing of beauty and likely a thing of great profits for Apple. So it is with lawyers – if the client trusts you with the little case, and you (as the lawyer) do a great job – maybe you will be trusted with the big case. We can do a better job as lawyers by adding value to the client, even if the value is certainty of price and the feeling that the client can call you without worrying about how much that call will cost.

So check out Shephard’s post if you are at all interested.  And when you get ready to hire a lawyer for your case – ask about alternative fee agreements.  Some lawyers (including this lawyer) offer alternatives, like fixed fee agreements.  Most lawyers with experience can predict to some degree how much the typical DUI or battery case should cost.  Then we simply charge you that amount of money that we think fairly shifts the burden of risk in a particular case.  The advantage to the client is certainty.  You know the worst case when it comes to how much money you will spend.  And you can call the lawyer and ask that question which sounds like it might violate the "there are no stupid questions" rule, without worrying about how much the lawyer will charge you for his or her excellent advice.  

And go here to find out about the Questions You Must Ask Every Lawyer You Are Even Thinking Of Hiring.

Got a question about attorney billing?  Call or send a contact form to us here.