Billing methods: time or value?

May 26, 2008

This video has a terrific practical discussion about how different consultants set their fees.

And it’s not always about the hours spent or the money you need. They look at value to the client, the relationship with the client, the quality of the work, your differentiation and other factors.

But ultimately it’s negotiation with the client as you discuss the project. Otherwise you turn yourself into a commodity with a fixed price.


Useful links

March 25, 2008

Rather than give you a list of links, I highly recommend Blawg Review #152 at Technolawyer.

The theme is “Practice Management and Technology” and covers some excellent posts on the topic from A-Z, many very appropriate for small firms and solos with a bit of humour thrown in.

Project management and value billing

January 29, 2008

Professionals tend to ignore the key factor behind the client’s perception of whether fees are reasonable: the way the risks in a project (matter) are handled and the results achieved.

Project management is not just a claims prevention tool. It is also a quality management tool.

But how can a matter which potentially has many strands be managed effectively, on a fixed budget (at a profit)? Well, if builders can do it, why can’t lawyers and accountants.

If you know what is involved in the project and can complete it at a fixed cost, thus removing the unknown hourly cost risk from the client’s concerns, why not do so? You don’t have to time bill everything.

Ron Baker from VeraSage explains in this post a good way of approaching project management for complex matters.

If  what he says sounds attractive then read his other posts on value billing especially this one about Australian accountant Matthew Tol.

Starting a solo practice

January 4, 2008

I started this blog because there weren’t many resources for solos around.

So the publication of Carolyn Elephant’s Solo by Choice is noteworthy.

Her My Shingle blog is a great advocate of the views of solos.

Canada’s Wise Law Blog also has a detailed post on Starting a Law Firm.

Technology update: are you taking advantage of 2008?

January 4, 2008

Effective use of technology means that small office and home office professionals can match (and outgun) their big firm counterparts. But not doing something puts you at risk.

Take some time from the slow holiday season to rethink your risk management and work effectiveness.

For example, hanging on to an out of date PC can not only slow you down. It can put you at risk of a crash and loss of time and data.

So I recently retired a PC I was using that had been struggling along with 256MB of memory (Hint: keep expanding memory as it is one of the cheapest and effective ways of improving performance). I replaced my Dell with an Acer Veriton L460 with 2gb of memory. At the same time I increased the memory on another PC from 512MB to 1gb and on a notebook to 1.5gb.

I’m reviewing my back up procedures and have done a general clean up and office redesign.

Here are some of the articles I referred to:

Tech Greats for ’08

How to set up your new computer

And some great home office articles:

Home office update

Home office warrior

Designing a new home office

BONUS: Digital marketing for modern firms (David Maister)

Sites for solos

November 18, 2007

Here are links to 2 collections of sites relevant to solos:

Sites for sore eyes has links to tech sites to help you understand how things work.

Blawg Review #132 is especially for Home Office Lawyers and Solo’s.

He offers the following words of encouragement:

Solo’s, independent practitioners, those that practice law from a home office tend to be innovative. We tend to be out in front. If for no other reason we have no one to answer to. We are the partnership committee. We are the marketing committee and we are the technology committee. For that reason, we tend to adopt new advances in those areas, dare I say, quicker.

Does working from home work for you?

November 18, 2007

Home Office Warrior has written an excellent post on why working from home works for him.

He considers issues such as  keeping office stuff in the office and staying motivated. Worth reading!

Attracting and retaining new clients

October 23, 2007

David Maister wrote the book on what your client relationships should be based on : trust, not marketing hype (The Trusted Advisor).

He is this week’s host of Blawg Review and rounds up  some topical posts on practice management and marketing.

Look at these to start:

Incorporated legal practices: benefits for solos and small firms

October 14, 2007

For all the discussion generated by the public listing of Slater and Gordon (eg Lawyers Weekly), it seems to me that incorporation is a reasonable option for solos and small firms.

Why? Most practices set up a separate service trust for tax effectiveness. If you’re a solo, having separate accounts for yourself and your service company is a waste of time.

As an incorporated legal practice, with yourself as the legal practitioner director, you can  have one set of books, superannuate yourself and operate efficiently.

The Law Council of Australia has a good resource page on incorporated legal practice to consider.

Reading for solos

October 8, 2007

Here are links to articles I’ve been meaning to write about.

I am sure you’ll find something of interest: