Law Firm Management

Whose Client is it Anyway?

In law firms, most lawyers typically get paid for two things: (1) billings; and (2) bringing in clients. Of course, there are a few lawyers here and there who get paid just for being brilliant, but then again, too few to mention.

Today I want to focus on lawyers who get paid for bringing in clients. Time and again during my tenure in law firm management, I saw lawyers who were billing and earning a lot of money, but who did not have a sophisticated understanding of the financial implications of their relationships with their clients. Usually this came up when they were thinking about leaving one firm and joining another firm. They would tell the new firm how much they were billing and give their best guess as to how many of their clients would follow them. More often than not their best guess was wrong, and not by a little bit, but by a whole lot. Rarely was the mistake that more clients than expected followed them to their new home.