Mary Vandenack is a founding member of Vandenack Williams LLC. Her practice focus includes the inter-related areas of tax,...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
Many attorneys are reluctant to try alternative billing methods because they fear that moving away from the billable hour will be complicated and less profitable. Furthermore, lawyers who are interested in billing alternatives often don’t know where to find resources to help them implement such changes in their own law firms. In this episode of New Solo, host Adriana Linares talks with Vandenack Weaver LLC founder Mary Vandenack about her six simple steps for any lawyer looking to successfully implement alternative billing methods in their law practice.
6 Steps to Make Alternative Fees Profitable
Intro: So you are an attorney and you have decided to go out on your own, now what? You need to plan and you are not alone. Join expert host Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune into the lively conversation as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm, here on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hello and welcome to New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I am Adriana Linares, your host, legal technology trainer and consultant. Before we introduce today’s topic I want to make sure and thank our sponsors, Solo Practice University and Clio.
HYPERLINK “http://www.Clio.com” Clio.com is where you can go to learn more about the world’s leading cloud-based legal practice management software. Thousands of lawyers and legal professionals trust Clio to help grow and simplify their practice.
And I want to personally thank Clio because the reason I am sitting in Mary Vandenack’s living room in Omaha, Nebraska is because they sent me to the Nebraska and Iowa Solo/Small Firm Conference to do a presentation for them about practice management programs and help out at the Clio booth. So I got to hang out and stay with my friend Mary, who is one of the featured speakers coincidentally at this conference.
I lugged all my podcasting equipment into Nebraska and have to lug it across about three more cities, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to interview Mary for New Solo. And in the last episode she talked us through understanding what an alternative fee is, how it has helped her practice from the very beginning, the different types of fees, and maybe misconceptions, perceptions, benefits, opportunities that come down to figuring out if you can incorporate an alternative fee of some sort, and I think we decided that most practices could.
So I would like to welcome Mary back.
Mary Vandenack: Thanks Adriana.
Adriana Linares: Well, I am sorry I caught you right in the middle of a big gulp there.
Mary Vandenack: Just making sure I had a little liquid in me before we talked.
Adriana Linares: Well, I appreciate you coming back, although it’s a fake come back because we actually haven’t left the living room table.
Mary Vandenack: That’s right.
Adriana Linares: But tell everyone a little bit about you and your practice here in Omaha in case they missed the first episode, which I strongly encourage them to go back and listen to, but just in case.
Mary Vandenack: So I have a tax and business what we call a boutique practice. So my partner and I when we founded the business broke off from a bigger firm and we wanted to be a boutique so that we could stay fairly small. So we work in the areas of business, tax, estate planning, asset protection planning, and we do a lot of tax exempt work, tax structure, general business, succession planning.
So we have a smaller firm, there’s 9 of us. My partner unfortunately is leaving and going in-house in California next week, but we plan to stay. So we have been under 10 for most of the time; we briefly got bigger than that, but we kind of like those numbers.
Adriana Linares: And you are a CPA and you have a lot of other worldly experiences that I think helps you run your practice, like be sort of the business brain behind the basics of running your law practice, in a very efficient and creative way. And one of the things that you have done from the beginning is understand the importance of alternative fees, which is what we had you talking about during the first episode.
So what we want to go through now is, I went through — I sat in your session at the conference and we have got a bunch of papers laid out here because your PowerPoint is very organized, and one of the things that you had, and I don’t know if you realized, you had 6 simple steps.
Mary Vandenack: I don’t think I realized that I had broken it into 6 simple steps until you pointed that out to me, and I think I am going to reorganize the PowerPoint that makes that really clear.
Adriana Linares: Okay. Well, good. So what I want to do is I am going to mention what the 6 steps are just so that we can say them out loud and in order and then let’s go back and visit each one with just a couple of thoughts from you about what these things really mean.
So according to Mary Vandenack’s 6 simple steps to making alternative fees profitable in your firm is 1, know your business. Step 2, seek ways to increase value. Step 3, know your true costs. Step 4, be clear about the process. Step 5, use your billing system to organize data. Step 6 is automate that which is automatable. That ought to be an interesting topic.
So again, I don’t know if you realized you had those, but I just thought it was very clear. So let’s go back and let’s just start with, what do you mean by know your business, Step 1?
Mary Vandenack: So knowing your business and some people will think, okay, well, bottom line I am a solo practitioner and so what I do is whatever comes in. So what do you mean, what is my business? Well, your business is doing whatever comes in. The question becomes in terms of understanding that that is your business and what is it that you do and what is it that you do regularly, because I am guessing even if you are a solo practitioner, you have certain — I was talking to a gal who had just started her practice and was in her first year and she decided to go out solo.
I said, well, what type of stuff do you have come in? Well, she has family law comes in, she has basic estate planning, and interestingly, she has adoption. So whatever her resources are. I said, oh, okay, so at the end of the day you at least have a business that has certain things that come in on a regular basis, and you may still be taken some stuff that doesn’t fit into that, but that is what your business is.
And then once you know what is coming in, then what are you doing with that and how are you processing it? Do you have a strategic plan? Maybe today you are a solo and just open the doors and all you care about is what’s coming in the door, but what do you want to be doing in the long-term? So also developing a strategic plan, so this is where I am today and being really clear about that, this is what I have coming in the door. I like being solo. I would actually like to have partners. But this is where I am today, so what am I doing? And out of those services are any of the things I am doing, do they fit into the category of what are called commodities?
Adriana Linares: Is it predictable and repeatable?
Mary Vandenack: Correct, right. And then do I do any niche services? So what I find is most solos have developed some kind of niche. Actually, I do a lot of pet trust and Adriana mentioned in our last session that I do a lot of gun trust and those are even within my estate planning area.
Adriana Linares: Who even knew there was a thing? If you have a gun out there, you should have a gun trust. Is that in any state by the way?
Mary Vandenack: It’s in any state, but it’s actually if they have a Title II gun.
Adriana Linares: Title II gun. It’s just not for gun trust.
Mary Vandenack: Yeah, doesn’t apply to all guns, but there’s actually reasons to consider them for Title I guns as well.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Mary Vandenack: And then knowing yourself, so really like there’s a process called a SWOT analysis in terms of knowing your business.
Adriana Linares: Hold on, wait, let me interrupt you real quick, tell everybody what you mean by SWOT, and you are saying SWOT, just in case somebody didn’t sit through an MBA class or watch enough of ‘The Office’.
Mary Vandenack: Right. So that is the acronym that we as lawyers, all love our little acronyms, but it’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
And the story I like to share about that first part where they talk about strengths and weaknesses, and this was the same client that helped me decide I was going to use alternative fees also said to me early on, she says, well, Mary, you spend a lot of time trying to get rid of your weaknesses. The best advice I can give you is to identify your strengths, do everything you can to enhance your strengths. And with respect to those weaknesses, if you start looking at them, those are going to become the prevalent things. So instead, be aware of them and damage control them.
And so really what I have tried to do in developing my practice and career is, okay, this is where I am strong and this is what we are going to focus on enhancing, but sitting down with those strengths can be your personal strengths, which might be what you really like doing. Maybe you are a person who relates really well with those who have been charged with a crime, or maybe you are really good at dealing with the people who are going through a divorce, neither of those are my strengths, but whatever they are, maybe you can get your head wrapped around a business transaction. In the long-term when you are setting your strategic plan, you have that this is where I am today, this is where I would like to go, and where you would like to go should consider your strengths.
Adriana Linares: You have mentioned that client of yours a couple of times, I hope you ended up stroking her a check instead of her you.
Mary Vandenack: Right.
Adriana Linares: Because it sounds like she really helped you. So that’s a great segue on to Step 2, which was seek ways to increase your value. So if you are recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses and looking at either one as maybe an opportunity and then of course identifying your threats, then that takes you right into Step 2 of Mary Vandenack’s 6 simple steps to creating an alternative fee law practice, which is seek ways to increase your value.
Mary Vandenack: And the first thing is being clear about what it is, where your value comes from. And in that regard I think a lot of attorneys get confused about what they think has value versus what the client thinks has value. So you really have to get your head around is, what does the client value, why are they hiring me? It’s not what do I think I should do for them; it is what do they want from me.
So if you are representing criminal defendants, it might be that they really want to help and they value the fact that you might be able to keep them out of jail. If you are representing estate planning clients, it might be that you can help make sure that their wishes in regards to disposition are going to get handled. Business clients, the number one thing they might value is that you are going to turn that project around as fast as you can so that you don’t kill their deal.
So it’s looking at what does the client really care about when they come and hire an attorney. And then how can I increase —
Adriana Linares: Or hire you specifically.
Mary Vandenack: You are right.
Adriana Linares: Like what is it about you specifically? So Jason Marsh, our regular marketing contributor, always says, when he is encouraging lawyers, and you have mentioned a niche practice once, but one of the things he says is, don’t just be a lawyer, be the lawyer. Figure out what that thing is that you can be the lawyer for and the lawyer for that person. So, that’s very good advice.
All right, seek ways to increase your value is number 2. Number 3 is know your true costs. And I feel that this is probably one of the hardest ones for lawyers, because this means digging into the business of their practice, and it’s direct costs, their attorney time, what are some of the others you had listed on there? Oh, realization, what does realization mean?
Mary Vandenack: So realization rate is you have attorney time and there’s two components to realize. So attorney puts in an hour of time, then the question is, do I get to bill that full hour?
So let’s say I get to my billing time and I write it down, and so I charge for — let’s just use a $100 rate, because I can do the math in my head. So say somebody is charging $100 an hour, but when it comes to doing the bill, they are like, oh, it’s really not worth that, so I am only going to charge $80. So your realization rate on your billable hours is now 80%.
But then the second component is, how much do you actually collect? So now you send out 10 bills at that $80 rate, so then only half of that comes back. So your realization on collections is 50% and you are only getting 80, so you might have a lot lower realization rate than you think. So it’s from the hourly rate, times the number of hours, at the end of the day how much of that do you collect.
If you are spending a $1,000 of billable time and you only collect $500 of it, your realization rate is 50%. And it’s really, really important to look at that realization rate across the board.
And where attorneys often fail on that is that what they don’t look at is their staff time. So that’s just, oh, so that’s the next component. So maybe they charge all of their time, but they are heavy staff users. So the way I look at the cost and realization is how much do we realize with reference to attorney time, staff time and what we spend to support the project.
So we have in our office a policy that everybody that touches anything relative to the client tracks their time. We don’t have any traditional secretaries. I am not really clear what a secretary would do frankly.
Adriana Linares: Whole another episode.
Mary Vandenack: Yeah, I wouldn’t even go there. So we don’t have any of those, but we do have two staff people who aren’t billable generally, but we still have them if they are helping — if they are sending the mail, there’s a cost. I am paying them to send the mail out to the clients.
Adriana Linares: So they are supporting the business, not a specific matter.
Mary Vandenack: Well, if they are sending — let’s say they are emailing, because I actually don’t use mail for that anymore, but say I am doing annual consensus of directors, well, I really don’t need a paralegal doing that. So I have a staff person who might take on some functions that were historically secretarial, but it’s still related to that client.
So if we send the mail — like most people ignore the fact that they are sending mail, they are sending the email that they have their assistants do, if it relates to the client, I consider that a cost relative to the production of the product for that client. So we track that and we look at that.
The other thing is we look at all the costs. So historically in forming an entity, you create a minute book. So you have this little three-ring binder and you would put all the documents. Well, that was done by a secretary, so that wasn’t chargeable, but you are paying for the binder.
Adriana Linares: The storage for the binder.
Mary Vandenack: Right. So we figure all those costs out and take a look at them and say, know how much it’s really costing you.
Adriana Linares: All right, so that’s Step 3 is actually digging into your business, figuring out what those costs are. And then number 4, let’s talk about — clarify this, Step 4, be clear about the process.
Mary Vandenack: So the process, and I will just give you an example, is the best way to do that, the process is what do you do? So formation is again easy, almost everybody touches that one so I am going to use that for an example, but Step 1 is you have got to make sure you don’t have any conflicts of interest. Step 2 is you are going to open a file, and then you are going to maybe file a certificate. You have to get certain information from the client. You are going to then file Document A. So what is the process for each type of service that you provide?
Adriana Linares: And that goes back to the last episode where we talked about even breaking down a matter into tasks and very specific components. So you are really dissecting and deconstructing what it takes to take a matter from cradle to grave.
Mary Vandenack: Right.
Adriana Linares: Okay. And hold on, before we move on to Step 5 and a couple of finishing questions I have for you, let’s take a break. We are going to take a quick one to hear a message from our sponsors.
Clio is an invaluable software solution for law firms of all sizes, handling all the demands of your growing practice from a single cloud-based platform. Clio enhances your firm with features such as matter and document management, time tracking, and even billing. Clio is an effortless tool that helps lawyers focus on what they do best, practice law. Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://www.clio.com” clio.com.
Advertiser: Ready to create and build your own solo or small firm practice, need a nuts and bolts education on the 360 degree experience of starting a business, there is only one online destination dedicated to helping you achieve your goals, Solo Practice University, the only online educational and professional networking community dedicated to lawyers and law students who want to go into practice for themselves, more than 1,000 classes, 58 faculty and mentors. What are you waiting for, check out HYPERLINK “http://www.solopracticeuniversity.com” solopracticeuniversity.com today.
Adriana Linares: All right, welcome back to New Solo. I am Adriana Linares. With me is attorney Mary Vandenack. We are in Omaha, Nebraska and Mary is just going through her six simple steps to a successful alternative fee structure at your law firm. We had talked about how Step 1 is knowing your business. Step 2 is seek ways to increase your value. We talked about Step 3, which is knowing your true costs, and we ended up with Step 4, which is be clear about the process and all the processes that help you run your law firm.
Number 5, which is of course one of my favorites, because now we are getting into practice management and technology. Number 5 is, use your billing system to organize data, and I don’t know any attorney that does that better than you, Mary Vandenack.
Mary Vandenack: Well, I think we have a long way to go, so we just changed, but pretty much every billing system, even if you have a pretty basic billing system these days has the ability to create categories for your billing matters. You create categories and subcategories. The two risks are you under-categorize or you over-categorize.
Adriana Linares: It’s hard to find the happy middle.
Mary Vandenack: Yeah, that’s what you have got to do. So the way I do it is for each practice area is I am like, okay, we are going to create, and there’s some exceptions to it, but we are going to create five subcategories. So like trust preparation; well, we can break that down into five different types of trust, but at the end of the day what I want to be able to know in the future is how many irrevocable crummy type life insurance trust did I drop over the last five years, how much did I charge for each of those, and did we make or lose money on them.
And you are not going to know the make or lose money necessarily from your billing system, a full-scale practice management system. Yes, you can, but what you want to know is you cannot figure out the starting point, which is, what you are charging for a service unless you know that. So in your billing system almost always you have an ability to categorize the work and I would tell you that that’s probably the most underused category in anybody’s billing system.
Adriana Linares: I will tell you, and not just because Clio is our sponsor and because I just love that company so much, but programs like Clio and practice management programs, especially these newer ones, provide you with a ton of statistics. I mean, they are called dashboards at this point in the game, but you get a lot of analytics and statistics, as long as you are putting information about each matter, like you said either categorizing, and also having all the people that are working on a matter track their time; you said that earlier, you have to have a practice management program that helps you do that.
But the thing is, not only does it capture all that information, it also analyzes it and gives it back to you in a format that’s readable and understandable and doesn’t take a genius to figure out where your strengths and your weaknesses are in your practice.
So using a billing system and really using technology well, leads to your number 6 step, which is again one of these things that we talk to lawyers about all the time, but for some reason it’s just like this giant hurdle we can’t get them over, and that is automating that which is automatable. Is that a word automatable, automatic?
Mary Vandenack: It’s good enough, and if it’s not, we will just add it to the legal dictionary particularly, but it works for me. The opportunities to automate and I am going to include in my presentation next time, but one of the coaches that I work with brought to me a pyramid, and that pyramid has like six different ways of doing — abilities, things that people do.
And I can’t remember the first three, but they are like learn and apply. What you do in school, so you go to school, you learn some information, you take it — oh, I know, it’s learn, memorize, apply. So you learn the information, you memorize it, then you take a test, where you indicate that you have been able to memorize this information. Pretty much anything that’s in those first three steps, that’s going to get automated. So if you are paying somebody to do that, you need to automate that task.
It comes back to where I was talking about value before, those are the next three levels, the top of the pyramid, which are analyze, evaluate and create. And a good example of that is, if you are helping a client say with a trademark, and you are trying to register it in a particular class, and you get an office action letter that says, hey, you are not quite meeting criteria.
Well, option one is you just send a note to the client and say, sorry, you are not going to get that trademark in that class even though you paid me some money to help you. If I quoted him a flat fee and I can’t do it, am I going to charge them for that?
But the creative mind says, okay, so we didn’t quite meet the criteria, is there something else we can do? Say a client had recently done a Master’s thesis and you are like, oh, we need an e-book to meet this classification. Let’s make your Master’s thesis into an e-book, that’s being creative, that’s where an attorney adds value, that’s the stuff that’s not going to be readily automated.
Adriana Linares: So the bottom of the period, the L the M, the A is the type of automation that you can apply here. And tell our listeners you have a heavily automated firm. Tell our listeners a little bit about the most important things that you automated, and we should also say, this is not something you did overnight, you have been working on automating again repeatable and predictable parts of your practice for many years, but just mention what a couple of those things are?
Mary Vandenack: Well, when we’re totally paperless and to the extent we have —
Adriana Linares: Except on this desk right now.
Mary Vandenack: Except on this desk right now. Well, there is – and I’ll admit there are some things I printout just because I get tired of looking at the screen, but we are always looking for ways to reduce the cost of processing. So our front desk person is scanning everything that comes in hard copy and I start to see that that time consumption is big, it’s like, okay, let’s look at what do we have coming in and why and how can we get that to come in automatically?
But the other thing is, documents, the one that drives me crazy is I will still get a document from somebody or somebody’s name is spelled correctly in one place and incorrectly in another place which means that somebody manually type that name in more than once and my policy is you should never type or enter any information about a client, and that is one of things with the practice management system, you can put in that basic information.
I automating HotDocs, that’s not everybody’s deals, but there is a whole lot of other ways to automate and there is a whole lot of people who will help you to do that, but we have a basic letter that you can create — you can still send an old-fashioned hard copy if you want to but 90 some percent of ours go out electronically. So we have in HotDocs here’s the basic letter, who do you want to send this to, you can go into our database, get the name, so that you’re not typing their name in. There’s a lot of simpler ways to automate, even in Word has templates that you can use that are really simple. Most of the practice management systems have some kind of automation. You’ve got to understand your process to be able to do it and I will tell you that even I who can do a lot of automation —
Adriana Linares: Step for.
Mary Vandenack: — went on and I hire somebody to help me out.
Adriana Linares: Good. So to bring all the six steps together which I’m just hoping that sometime in the future you’ll figure out an acronym for these six steps from Mary Vandenack’s six easy steps to turning to alternative fees, but you summarized it in your PowerPoint with a pretty simple conclusion — maybe this is the final analysis of if you’ve done these six steps and you’ve worked for six or eight months this is the formula that you can apply to figure out if it’s been successful. You had a pretty simple formula which was Revenue × Realization – Costs, right?
Mary Vandenack: Right.
Adriana Linares: Okay, break that down. What does that mean?
Mary Vandenack: So it’s your revenue, that’s the dollars that you bring in the door, and actually I probably broke that down, so revenue is how much did you bill, the realization rate is how much actually comes back in the door, but less your costs, so we talked about the realization rate.
How much did you send the bill for, how much of it did you collect and how much did you write checks for, how much did you pay out of your pocket? So that’s your net, and that’s your gross profit for those who have the county background. This is my gross profit on that type of project, and I can tell you, the more you understand what your gross profit is. Suddenly what you like to do might change?
I can tell you that it’s like, oh, you know what, I thought I really liked to do this practice area, but no matter how much I automate, no matter how much I’m actually losing money on that. So it’s a really simple formula but it’s amazing to me that a lot of people don’t really sit down and figure that out about their practice and it’s extremely important.
Adriana Linares: Yes, I agree with you, it’s simple and it is amazing how many people don’t do that. So last topic that I want to bring up is — and I’m sure there is a lot of lawyers that have very much appreciated this insane amount of knowledge we thrown at them, but somebody out there is going to be asking, oh, are there any ethical issues I need to be concerned about?
Mary Vandenack: There are some ethical issues and the biggest one with alternative fees is simply there are ethics required that what we charge is a fair and reasonable price with all things considered. So what we have to look at in that regard is let’s say we really automate our process and so my same recovering equivalent of a thousand bucks per hour something like that, so my ratio here in Omaha is at the $300 mark.
Is that fair, is that ethical, is that a fair and reasonable price? And the way I evaluate that is what is being charged by others’ attorneys providing that service in my town, so if i can recover because I’m extremely efficient in doing that process at a higher effective rate than others in the contingency fee that’s obviously happens a lot of the time, but if others are not charging a whole lot more, we’re charging lesser the same as others, then our price is probably fair and reasonable.
The other ethical issue is really communicating about it, so a lot of again having that conversation in day one, following up with that in writing and engaging the letter that’s clear about the pricing.
The other piece that’s really important if you’re quoting your traditional flat fee is what if the client fires you when you’re two-thirds away for the process? So when is your fee earned and how is it earned? Do you get a partial recovery of that if you’re at a certain stage in the process? The answer to that is different based on the type of fee, but from an ethical perspective you want to make sure that that is addressed in your engagement letter and materials. Those are the key things.
Adriana Linares: Those are the key things. That’s really good I think that’s all been very helpful.
Do you have any closing thoughts anything that we’ve gone through a lot, is there anything you thought of that you want to make sure we say outloud before we wrap up, but I also have an idea why don’t we take questions and do another follow-up episode because I bet you there’s going to be some attorneys and some new solos maybe even some paralegals or some law students that are listening to this. So would you do that, would you come back if we get some questions about all this? Wouldn’t that be fun?
Mary Vandenack: I would love to do that because I think that’s the best way to evolve the concepts, and what I know is, I understand it extremely well relative to my particular practice area, but as I talk to others doing more a get asked questions by that the ability to be able to apply that, I think we can get this to be a little more mainstream.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, I think that’s great. So here’s what we’ll do. If you have a question about anything we’ve talked about for Mary over the past two episodes, send an e-mail to HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” [email protected], it will come straight to me. We’ll gather those questions up and in a few weeks we’ll invite Mary back and explore this whole concept even further take your specific questions.
Mary is one of the most, I mean, there’s a million great things I could say about Mary, but generous with your time is just an understatement. I know that you would be happy to answer these questions and help attorneys figure this out because you are a coach and a guide and a healer and I know you want to help. So we encourage everybody to send in any questions that you might come up with, and then Mary, did you come up with — I was actually giving you some time too to see if you come up with anything else you wanted to make sure and say?
Mary Vandenack: I think the most important thing is really a reiteration of what I’ve said, is just the whole process is taking a leap and jumping and taking a look at your business and considering doing the alternative fees. Keep it in mind one of the things that I do always say is I’ll be honest that I didn’t start doing alternative fees because I wanted to — originally I did it because I wanted to automate loss leaders, but once I automated loss leaders and this is what they tell you how disruption happens in a variety of markets, you start to automate the loss leaders aren’t killing you, but then I like why would I not apply this so that I can just improve my income, I was really tired of the hours times rate type of thing and I said, I would really like to be able to have a good income and as we talk about —
Adriana Linares: And a good life.
Mary Vandenack: And a good life — as we talk about the practice in general you just see the misery in our profession and we have a lot of wellness programs because we have a higher rate of addiction and things like that and I think partly it’s just playing this whole billable hour structure of law firms that’s causing that, so we do ourselves a favor by moving on.
Adriana Linares: I’ll thank you, Mary, I think that that makes a great point and that reminds me of something. I was at the ABA Annual Meeting last week and I set in on the Futures Commission and they did their other survey on — well you’re on that Commission, what’s the official name of that thing?
Mary Vandenack: So it’s the ABA Commission on the Future of the Legal Profession.
Adriana Linares: Thank you, and their report came out, they had a PowerPoint and I took one picture that I think will summarize what you just said that they had up there, and again, this is like nothing new under the sun but I found it really amazing that the ABA was saying this outloud, which is basically what you just said about the billable hour and this is what the slide said, I had to look it up on my phone. The traditional law practice business model constrains innovation and stop, right?
Mary Vandenack: It does because what you’re going to do is billed by the hour then your incentive is to spend as many hours on the project, and the only thing that really keeps lawyers moving is they have something else on their desk, like I’ve always been blessed to be extremely busy, but what motivation is there to do anything different as long as you can recover your fees that way, and again, the market forces aren’t necessarily pushing us like there’s legal zoom and there are some things out there going on that we should be aware of some of the high-end rates, so for me it’s like, let me make a little more not be constrained by this, and at the same time you’re exactly right, the innovation will come from that same thing, it’s like let’s move to a different system.
Adriana Linares: Well, I think you’ve given everybody a lot of creative and interesting things to look at and think about and figure out how to be a little more creative with their own practices.
So of course it looks like we’ve reached the end of another great episode. Thank you so much for coming on, Mary, this has been really great. I am looking forward to everyone’s questions. Make sure you e-mail us HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” [email protected]. Make the subject line something fun like, “Questions for Mary”.
And, Mary, tell everybody how they can either get a hold of you, maybe we get a copy of the PowerPoint, which is really, you should turn that into an article I hope. There is a lot of great information on there, but I know you said in the last episode you will be happy to share that with anyone and then we will share more of your wealth in another episode, but let everybody know how they get a hold of you.
Mary Vandenack: So email address is HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]”[email protected], and it’s also really easy to google and find me, so it’s Mary Vandenack, and my email address is readily available on my website and LinkedIn.
By the way, I have been meaning to ask you, if you’ve enjoyed ‘New Solo’ would you mind giving us a good rating on iTunes? I don’t think we have any and we should, and it’s part of my job to ask you to do that, so if you’ve enjoyed it please give us a good rating, we’d really appreciate that.
And of course, like I said that brings us to the end of our show. I am Adriana Linares, thank you for listening. Join us for another great episode, and remember, you’re not alone, you are New Solo.
Outro: Thanks for listening to New Solo with host Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice, solo, here on Legal Talk Network.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.
Jake Heller talks about how Casetext’s artificial technology software, known as CARA, works.
Taylor Darcy talks about why he chose to go solo and the technology that has helped make his practice successful.
Tom Martin gives tips and tricks on implementing chatbots on small law firm's websites.
Greg Garman talks about New Solo’s new sponsor Lawclerk and what it offers to solo and small firm lawyers.
Renee Thompson and Zack Zuroweste talk about how law firms can prepare for and recover from natural disasters.
Greg McLawsen talks about the life of the nomadic attorney and shares how he built his law firm around his desire to travel.