Yesterday, I wrote about the first commandment for getting paid 100% for the work you do as an attorney: change your mind set about money.
You have to rid yourself of the thinking we all receive from law professors and bar associations, namely, that our job is first to do good, and second to give away our services for free.
I gave you permission to see getting paid as your duty, which it is.
Now, on to the second commandment.
Commandment #2: Bill regularly (at least once per month).
I know this sounds simple, and it is, but simple things are the most important.
And while it sounds simple, apparently, it isn’t for most attorneys.
In 2015, Clio (the online firm management system) culled its user data and found the following about lawyers sending out bills and getting paid:
- It takes the average lawyer 87 days from the time they do work until the bill for that work reaches the client.
- It takes on average 83 days to get paid on an invoice.
- In total, the average turnaround time from date of service to date of payment is 170 days.
In other words, most attorneys don’t bill regularly and it takes almost 6 months to get paid.
6 months to get paid? WTH?!
That’s not okay. Nothing about that is okay.
If you have a 170-day turnaround time from service to payment, there’s no way you’ll ever collect anywhere close to 100% for the work you do.
What’s the solution? Send out bills at least once per month.
This has to be the first thing you do every month. If it’s not the first thing, you’ll do other things, and billing will be pushed off until who-knows-when?
So, the very first thing you do on the 1st of every month is bill.
(Note: I have a friend who bills every week. Now, that’s not the system for everyone, but let me tell you, that woman gets paid.)
If you have a hearing on the 1st, wake up early and bill. If you have trial on the 1st, get up early and bill. If you have strep throat on the 1st, wake up early and bill before you go to the doctor.
I wake up by 5 a.m. on the 1st of every month and bill. It’s difficult, but it gets done, and those bills get out the door, and people pay.
Why am I so adamant about this?
170 days, that’s why!
You work too hard to wait 6 months to get paid a fraction for the work you did.
Make the necessary changes today. Get paid.
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