One of the biggest barriers lawyers must overcome when contemplating alternative pricing models is understanding just how customers perceive the value lawyers provide.
One of the ways I've combated this in my consulting practice (and at LexThink Innovate) is I let customers set the price of the work I do — after it is done.
Below is a copy of my "You Decide Invoice" that I use for all my consulting work. The relevant provisions read:
YOU DECIDE: Your absolute satisfaction with LexThink isn’t just our goal, it’s the measure of our worth — and the determination of our fee. The rules are simple: you pay us what you feel we were worth to you. You decide, no questions asked. The only rule? We want to know why you paid what you did, and how we could have done better.
WHEN TO PAY: While we leave our fee in your hands, we can’t leave it there forever. Please send us your payment and feedback within 21 days after you get this invoice. Please send a copy of this along with your feedback and your payment. Thank you for your business.
On the second page (not shown), I ask for feedback from the customer:
Tell us, in as many words as you want, how we did. Think about your expectations, the result, and how it felt to work with us. Also, let us know if we can share your feedback with others — and if we can give you credit. Attach more sheets if you need to.
That's it. I explain to the customer before they engage me that they'll set my price, and then give them the invoice as soon as the engagement's done. So far, I've always received at least as much as I've expected — and most importantly, usually more than I would have charged if I'd set my price before beginning.
I also know that when I will ultimately receive less than I expect (or not get paid at all), it will tell me I need to learn lessons from the engagement, and improve my services (or be more selective with my clients) so it doesn't happen again.
What's keeping you from experimenting, and letting a few (trusted) customers name your price?