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What is the Average Amount of Fees

Generated by the Matters You Handle?
by Barbara Lewis MBA and Dan Otto MBA

You may not think it makes a difference whether you work on matters that generate large or small fees as long as your total fees are the same. However, Centurion Consulting Group has found that you can be wasting administrative time and your time in handholding small clients if most of your clients are invoiced less than $100, for example.

Many attorneys voice the opinion that they want to work with every client, no matter how little fee may be billed. They theorize that these small clients may one day refer a very large matter or the client may one day have a substantial matter.

However, in a marketing plan that we recently developed for a law firm, we analyzed the small fee matters and determined that these clients weren’t referring others, nor were they growing. (Of course, there are exceptions to this, but they are rare.)

Instead, the firm was spending an inordinate amount of time billing the hundreds of small matters and the attorneys found that they had to write off much of their time since the small clients were extremely fee sensitive. Small clients also need a lot of attention -- more than larger clients.

Action Step:

Check the 80/20 rule where 80% of your fees should be generated by 20% of your clients. Determine the percentage of your fees that are small (such as less than $100 or less than $500) and compare that to the percentage of clients generating that amount.

 However, some professionals are uncomfortable with this technique. So we suggest changing the mindset. Remember that your legal services are a valuable asset to your clients. If you don’t offer your services or creative applications of your services to help solve their problems, you are doing them a disservice. 

 Benefit:

The adage is true: “Out of sight, out of mind.”   If you use the articles and speeches to enhance your credibility and the personal contact to improve your relationship, you’ll find that business development is relatively easy.   Our clients who devote 15 percent of their time to business development, usually see improvements within a short time

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