Clients are seeing the funkiest and even what they describe as “slippery bills” from their law firms. We are not talking about isolated incidents; fully 38% of clients tell us about slipshod bills—doubling the 19% of last year. Why are clients using such strong language? Judge for yourself:
And then consider:
Law Firms Going Rogue
Clients reporting rogue law firms triples to 20%, up from a mere 6.8% last year. These top legal decision makers point to law firms performing what they sincerely believe to be unauthorized work. This includes research, negotiating with the other side, agreeing to new terms and conditions, and communication to the other side without pre-authorization. And, clients learn about the work in the worst ways—from the other side or through deciphering invoices and figuring it out.
Clients realize scope changes happen and law firms may have to do work not easily anticipated. What they don’t understand is why they learn about it through invoices or by accident. Clients believe most of these changes can be seen in advance and they have a right to know— it’s an entitlement—not a courtesy.
Unfortunately, this impacts all law firms as clients up their scrutiny and question scope more. There is no better antidote than keeping your clients in the loop. Update clients before they ask. Share any new events in real time, inform clients when there is no change in circumstances, and even when things are going just fine. Don’t use invoices to communicate progress or staffing plans—over communicate to make sure your client not only knows—but hears what you are saying.