I’ll confess, I’m a threader. I have my mail program set so that when I respond to an e-mail, the previous posts become part of the new message. That way, after multiple exchanges with one person, I can keep just the most recent e-mail and delete all the earlier messages, leaving the entire thread intact in just one message.
With the recent meltdown of financial institutions, some lawyers have been wondering whether and how client funds held in a lawyer’s IOLTA account are be covered by FDIC insurance in the event of a bank failure. In general, the rule has been that FDIC insurance covered $100,000 of any individual’s funds deposited in a single financial institution, regardless of how many accounts that $100,000 was spread over, including the portion of the individual’s funds that are in the lawyer’s trust account.
But you started reading it anyway.
We’re all so inundated with disclaimers and license agreements at every turn that we barely flinch anymore when we see the words “privileged and confidential” or worse, long paragraphs in small fonts portending doom for the unwitting recipient of a misdirected e-mail or the surfer of law firm websites. Disclaimers seem to have spread like a consensual virus – a lawyer sees another lawyer using a disclaimer, figures it must be a good idea, and includes it in his or her own materials.
As alternative billing approaches go, flat fees have many fans. Clients like to know exactly what a particular legal service will cost and lawyers like to leverage experience they have gained in providing the same service to others. Sometimes a flat fee even lets a lawyer spend more time on a matter because there’s no concern that the client will feel the lawyer was trying to run up the bill by spending more time on legal research or clever drafting. Flat fees are also important for clients who are at a high risk of future nonpayment.
With the stock market gyrating and the economy sinking, many lawyers are already starting to see clients fall behind on paying their bills. Here are a few ideas for managing fee collection through troubling times…