As a solo lawyer, there are various ways to price your services. However, if you're just starting, it can be pretty tough to pick the best pricing model that suits you.
In this short and simple guide, we've put together all the information needed to choose the perfect pricing model for your solo practice.
But first, let's discuss the factors that can affect your pricing rates.
Factors Affecting Pricing Rates
The pricing of your services can be affected by factors both within and outside your control. Some of these variables, in no particular order, are:
- The type of case; some cases would be more time-intensive than others
- Your level of experience or specialisation
- Any incentives or discounts you may have offered.
What Margins Should Solo Lawyers Use
Before choosing a pricing model, you must understand your margins—of which there are two basic types.
Gross margin is the profit you make from selling your services to clients after subtracting your variable costs—(expenditures directly related to the sale of a service).
You make a net margin after subtracting variable and fixed costs from your revenue. In this case, fixed costs are expenditures paid regardless of services sold—for example, rent.
As a solo lawyer, it is best to pick the pricing margin that best suits your situation. If you incur only variable costs, a gross margin pricing strategy will work for you. On the other hand, a net margin pricing strategy will be suitable if you have fixed expenses.
What Pricing Models Are Available for Solo Lawyers?
There are numerous pricing models available. Whichever you choose, it would help to focus on one that will be the most profitable after deducting the total operating costs. Your solo practice is a business, and you should give it the attention required to succeed.
Though these models are different in their approach, they remain a means to an end: profit.
Flat fee pricing is charging a fixed fee for services. This model is suitable for straightforward and predictable services. For example, you can charge $1500 for an immigration application or to draw up a will.
In the retainer model, the client pays the fees upfront into a trust. As the case progresses, you charge your services to this trust. Before making any payment, the price is determined by you and agreed upon by the client.
This model is perfect for services that take an extended period—for example, being the legal counsel for an organisation.
If you want to catch a wider bracket of clients, you can use the sliding scale model. In this model, you price your services based on your clients' income. Therefore, your more affluent clients would pay more than your less wealthy clients.
You can use this pricing model if your client is expecting a payday from the outcome of your case. This model ties your compensation to your performance in the case. In essence, you charge a percentage of the expected payout from the case. The contingency model is great for injury claims, settlement type cases, and clients unable to pay for representation.
In this model, you provide legal services as needed, as long as clients pay a subscription fee. This pricing model creates a consistent source of income for your solo practice and is suitable for small businesses that may need legal assistance when they least expect it.
The go-to pricing model among solo lawyers and law firms. You get paid for every hour you work on a case. Charging by the hour is suitable for unpredictable circumstances that can drag out longer than expected—for example, criminal or civil cases.
Is There a Perfect Pricing Model?
No, there is no perfect pricing model or silver bullet solution. The model you choose should depend on the case, client, etc.
Can I Use a Mix of Pricing Models?
Yes, you are encouraged to mix pricing models to make a decent profit. While some models may not fit certain cases, others can be applied case-by-case.
How Do I Calculate Legal Fees?
When setting your legal fees, the most crucial metric is your revenue is more than your expenses. You must first calculate your total costs and what you want to earn (yearly or monthly) and work backwards. This is a sure-fire way to get decent legal fees for your efforts.
Streamline the Billing Process
As a solo lawyer, it can be tough doing everything on your own.
Thanks to mattero, you can streamline most of your processes. mattero helps you keep track of all your ongoing cases, emails, log time spent, and store documents. With the solution mattero offers, you'll be on top of your revenues regardless of your pricing model.
mattero also helps you better structure your business to get more clients and increase your revenue. Please take advantage of our free trial today and watch the magic happen!