As a solo, it is very easy to be overworked and underpaid. If you are feeling stressed to the max with your cases yet feel like you are not earning enough, here are 4 ways that you can increase your earnings in your law firm today.
1. Increase Your Fees
Increasing fees is very difficult for most solos, especially those of us who are doing work that we love serving an underserved or marginalized community. However, over and over I see lawyers saying that they are drowning in work, the phone is constantly ringing, and they can't handle any more. One way to help with this overwhelm is to increase your fees.
If you do flat fee, take a look at your cases. I usually recommend to start by adding an additional $500.00 to most fees. Also, what cases do you find yourself regularly saying to yourself, "I don't get paid enough for this?" Whatever case that is, increase the price immediately. Make it so that the work is worth it to you.
If you bill hourly, take a look at your retainer and also your hourly rate. Most women tend to undercharge by the hour- most men charging $350/hour whereas women charge $250/hour. Value your work and increase your fee. Also, increase your retainer amount at sign up.
(and send your clients BILLS! This is so crucial!)
2. Set up Automatic Billing
Most credit card processing companies have a feature that allows you to set up automatic billing. You set the date and amount, and it charges your client that amount every month for a specified period of time. Even if you bill hourly, have your clients agree to a set amount to be charged each month to go to their trust account. This will help protect you from running out of money in the trust account. Send your clients a consent form to automatically charge their card, and then get going! This is definitely worth the investment of time to put it together.
(If you aren't accepting credit cards, start NOW. It will change your earnings in ways that you could never even imagine! Here's an article about credit card processing companies, though since then we have found Bank of America to offer the best rates.)
3. Get going on Facebook Live
Facebook is the best marketing you can do, and it's absolutely free. First, you need a firm Facebook page. Then, you can broadcast live to your followers to talk to them about legal subjects that pertain to them. For example, a divorce attorney can jump on and talk about parenting plans and what you need to know. The best advice is to make it into a regular show where you jump on once a week and answer questions live from your followers. They write comments on the video and you answer them in real time. It is a great way to connect to potential clients and also build goodwill by having a catalog of great information by way of videos on your Facebook for Business page.
4. Organize a Free Legal Clinic
This sounds overwhelming, but it is very easy, especially if you have your Facebook Live going. You can organize a day where you will give quick, free legal consults to people in your community. You can promote it through Facebook Live and invite people through your Facebook Page. You can hold it at your office, but many libraries offer free meeting space in a centralized location. Be sure to pass out information about your law firm to every person who comes to the free clinic- including business cards and brochures. We did pre-printed quote sheets in branded folders so that once we knew someone qualified, we just pulled out the folder and explained the quote.
What other tips do you have? What have you tried and how has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.