Rethinking Your Firm’s Bills

If your clients designed your bills, what would they look like?  Would they be easier to understand?  Contain useful case status information?  How about upcoming dates or milestones?  Would your bills include information about the people who worked on the case that month?  How about a report card seeking monthly feedback about how you’re serving your clients?

 

I decided to take a crack at designing a new kind of legal bill.

The bill begins with a “Case Update” that includes a brief summary of the month’s work, upcoming dates and milestones, as well as things the lawyers are waiting on from others — including the client.

There’s a page with pictures, names and contact information for all the lawyers and staff who’ve worked on the client’s matter that month:

There’s also, of course, a list of the work done that month, along with the price owed:

Finally, there’s a survey form attached at the end, with a list of client commitments and a place for the client to give the firm a grade:

The entire version is here.  Let me know what you think.

 

 

7 Responses to Rethinking Your Firm’s Bills
  1. Joel Ungar
    October 12, 2011 | 8:27 pm

    Very impressive and out of the box. Thinking about a CPA Firm equivalent. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bill King
    October 12, 2011 | 8:37 pm

    I like this for some things, but not sure about having everything in there every month, like the team (unless personnel changes).
    Still thinking of pricing changes that seem more reasonable to client (e.g., I know we bill for the value of our time, but when we’re driving to and from court, I’m thinking I need to apply a reduced fee).

  3. Joe Donahue
    October 13, 2011 | 2:28 pm

    Interesting idea IF you can get client buy-in. Many institutional clients already dictate the bill format. But,I like the idea because lawyers rarely give that type of case update unless asked for it.

  4. Jerome Kowalski
    October 17, 2011 | 3:00 pm

    A task force of the California bar some years ago proposed a complete reformat of a firm’s bills, very similar to your proposed format.

    If memory serves me, the task force suggested that the bill begin with a narrative of the projects undertaken the previous month followed by the time and related hourly charges that reflect the efforts to complete those projects. The task force also suggested that the bill also describe the projects expected to be undertaken in the following month. All of this should be consistent with a detailed statement of work jointly agreed to at the start of an engagement (link to kowalskiandassociatesblog.com ).

    The task force’s proposals did not get any traction.

    Best practices today mandate that time charges be available on line and in real time.

  5. Private investigator Austin Tx
    October 29, 2011 | 9:43 am

    OOhhhh, I sure like this format especially with the pictures of the persons giving the service. It gives a sense of personal attention to the client making it more likely to pay the bill because you are a real person to them. Maybe some more bio stuff about where they went to school or a bit about their family. It really gives a personal touch that I think folks would strongly respond to. It sure is a change from my Sears bill.

  6. Peter Collins
    September 23, 2012 | 5:18 pm

    Matthew,

    Your form of bill includes reference to a client portal. What portal service/software do you use?

    • Matt Homann
      October 2, 2012 | 8:54 pm

      Peter, this was only a mock-up showing people what is possible — not a real bill.

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