Financially Legal is a twice-monthly podcast with accompanying articles on the financial aspects of the business of law. Host, Dan Lear, talks with law firm leaders, academics, business professionals and thought leaders to provide compelling and provocative insights at the intersection of finance, economics, and law.

Announcing the Gravity Legal Litify Integration

Posted by Emery Wager on January 30, 2023

For law firms looking to automate firm-specific processes, customize workflows and provide a highly tailored client experience, Litify is the platform. Built on Salesforce, Litify combines the flexibility of the cloud’s most powerful CRM with a dynamic, legal-specific toolbox to transform your firm into an efficient, collaborative growth machine. 

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Topics: Gravity Legal News


The Power of Measuring Your Law Firm’s Return on Investment (ROI)

Posted by Emery Wager on January 10, 2023
If you invest a dollar into your law firm, what do you expect to get back?

Why is the answer to this question so important? It helps you decide what initiatives to pursue and what initiatives to cut. It also tells you whether you are building the right financial opportunity for yourself and your partners. If you are only getting a dollar out for every dollar you put in, you’d be better off keeping that dollar. If this is the case, it’s time to rethink the firm’s strategy and take a closer look at the financial “leaks” in the business. 

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Topics: Business of Law


The Dangers of Accepting Wire Transfers at Your Law Firm

Posted by Emery Wager on January 4, 2023

Wire transfers are a common method of accepting payment for law firms, but they can be risky for both your firm and your clients. This article outlines the dangers and downsides associated with accepting wire transfers and best practices for avoiding these traps. 

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Topics: Business of Law


Should a Law Firm Hire a Collections Agency?

Posted by Emery Wager on December 14, 2022

The two most controversial topics for law firms related to client payments and collections are:

  1. Should law firms charge credit card fees to clients?
  2. Should law firms hire a collections agency to recoup long outstanding accounts receivable?

We have published substantial information to help you make a decision on on whether to charge card fees to clients but very little on navigating the collections agency conundrum.

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Topics: Business of Law


The Law Firm Third-Party Client Finance Decoder

Posted by Emery Wager on December 5, 2022

We at Gravity Legal strongly believe that firms and clients benefit most when firms offer clients a variety of options to pay. Firms invest significant dollars to get clients in the door. It’s a waste of those resources to have a would-be paying client walk out the door simply because the firm doesn’t offer payment plans (i.e. doesn’t want to be the client’s bank), the client doesn’t have a credit card, or because the firm won’t offer third-party funding.

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Topics: Business of Law


Buy Now, Pay Later for Legal: What, Why, and How

Posted by Dan Lear on December 2, 2022

Over the last few years there’s been an explosion of third-party commercial financing options. Familiarly known as “Buy Now, Pay Later” and offered by companies like Klarna, Affirm, and Sunbit, these services provide short-term loans to consumers to purchase everything from furniture to event tickets.

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Topics: Business of Law, Clients


Database of Collections Agencies for Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on November 2, 2022

The decision to hire a collections agency is a difficult one, and although most law firms are collections curious, the majority of firms we talk to have not hired one. That said, the feedback from law firms who have hired an agency is pretty darn positive. 

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 45. What does it take to get a collections rate of 95% and how does that intersect with diversity, transparency, and compensation? An interview with Jim Meadows from Culhane Meadows

Posted by Dan Lear on September 7, 2022

How, if at all, do compensation, diversity, and transparency overlap? How can these competing priorities be reconciled? Jim Meadows from Culhane Meadows doesn’t have the perfect answer. But he’s giving it a solid try.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business of Law


Episode 44. How do creativity and analytics blend to grow a contingency law firm? An interview with Lynn Bradley from The Potts Law Firm

Posted by Dan Lear on August 24, 2022

Plaintiffs' lawyers are often bold, brash, larger-than-life characters with billboards, regular TV ads, and ambition to match.

But they're also visionary creatives. They excel at building something from nothing and carving out a new and unique path for legal professionals - often where no path existed before. But that creativity needs to be leavened with stability and more strategic thinking. 

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business of Law


The State-by-State Guide to Client Financing

Posted by Dan Lear on August 22, 2022

Financing legal fees is not new. Bar associations have been grappling with the rules around   lawyers accepting a simple financing tool - credit cards - since the 1970's. Given that cards haven't been around for that long - and that some states are still grappling with how lawyers can use them* - what happens most often when clients need to finance their legal bill is that lawyers or law firms themselves become the bank. They offer installment payments or financed offerings to their clients in order to enable the clients to pay the firms' legal bills.

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Topics: Stored Payment Methods


Join Legendary 'No B.S.' Business Leader Dan Kennedy for an Exclusive Interview

Posted by Dan Lear on August 18, 2022

If you don't know who Dan Kennedy is, you should. Here's just a quick recap of the impact he's had on the business world in his 30+ year career:

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 43. How does your firm limit write downs and write offs? An interview with Kevin Krese from Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs

Posted by Dan Lear on August 17, 2022

Two episodes into our four-episode series with law firm CFOs one theme that's emerged is collections. Specifically, how much money lawyers and law firms leave on the table by failing to implement processes that ensure that the firm gets paid for the work it bills out.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Episode 42. What’s your firm’s “collections calendar?” An interview with Scott Shaffer from Winterfeldt IP Group

Posted by Dan Lear on August 10, 2022

One thing every law firm needs is money. And I don’t think that I’m going out on a limb suggesting that money and financial health are common elements across most successful firms. In this episode, the first of our series of interviews with law firm CFOs, we speak with Scott Shaffer of Winterfeld IP Group. We dig in with Scott on law firm collection rates, collection strategies, whether firms should refer clients to collections agencies, the firm’s tech stack and how it helps facilitate the firm getting paid, Scott's “most important financial metric,” and a bunch more.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


How Immigration Law Firms Automate Payment Plans with QuickBooks

Posted by Emery Wager on August 2, 2022

Immigration law firms have unique billing practices. Most immigration firms we encounter either predominantly or exclusively put clients on payments plans. These plans involve the client entering their payment information so they can be automatically billed on a regular schedule until a specified dollar amount is reached.

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


The State-by-State Guide to Auto-Billing Stored Payment Methods

Posted by Dan Lear on June 29, 2022

Amazon stores your credit card. Uber or Lyft might have it too. Do you use Netflix, Disney Plus, or other platforms to regularly consume goods and services? 

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Topics: Stored Payment Methods


The Legal Ethics of Trust-less Retainers

Posted by Dan Lear on May 12, 2022

One of our most popular blog posts is a post about how lawyers can realize the benefits of a retainer without a trust account.  By storing a client payment method and subsequently charging the payment method in accordance with the attorney/client engagement agreement, firms can get the benefits of having access to funds on hand without the burden of trust account compliance.

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Topics: Business of Law, Payments


The Collections Optimizer

Posted by Emery Wager on May 11, 2022
Collection rates for law firms on average hover around 80%. Said another way, a firm with $1M in annual billings on average leaves $200K on the table each year. That's $200K of work that has already been completed and billed!
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Topics: Business of Law


Trust Accounting in Gravity Legal

Posted by Emery Wager on May 4, 2022

Do you have practice management or accounting software that does your trust accounting? Great. This post is NOT for you.

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Do You Write Checks...to Yourself?

Posted by Emery Wager on April 30, 2022

Let's face it. Most bankers have no idea what an IOLTA account is. These types of accounts are an afterthought - one of those banking products that gets little attention. We hear horror stories of banks regularly debiting fees from IOLTA accounts or sending erroneous overdraft notifications to the Bar. We recently spoke to a firm that had to call their bank to speak with a real live human being every time they wanted to check their IOLTA balance. 

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Security on Gravity Legal

Posted by Dan Lear on April 14, 2022

Lawyers make their living by helping others comply with rules and stay out of trouble. But every lawyer will tell you that there are gaps in their knowledge. And this is true even for a given lawyer’s professed area of expertise. So it’s not a surprise that most lawyers don’t understand - and perhaps don’t even want to understand - how technology and internet security work.

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Topics: Gravity Legal News


Episode 41. Can offshore virtual staffing help you grow and scale your law firm? An interview with Brett Trembly from Get Staffed Up and Trembly Law Firm

Posted by Dan Lear on March 30, 2022

What’s a lawyer doing running an offshore virtual staffing firm? Starting in 2011 Brett Trembly built a successful business law firm, Trembly Law Firm, in Miami, Florida. They now employ 30+ people and nearly a dozen lawyers. 

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Episode 40. What's a CRM? And what can a law firm do with it? Announcing the Gravity Legal/Lawmatics Integration with Matt Spiegel, CEO of Lawmatics

Posted by Dan Lear on March 1, 2022

On this special episode of Financially Legal, we’re announcing the launch of our integration with Lawmatics. Lawmatics is a Legal Intake Solution, Marketing Automation, and Law Firm CRM software all in one. Today they are announcing the launch of their time and billing module with Lawmatics payments powered by Gravity Legal.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Episode 39. Why do lawyers struggle to get paid for the work that they do? Julie Steinbacher from Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak and The Million Dollar Solution

Posted by Dan Lear on February 16, 2022

Why do lawyers struggle to get paid for the work that they do? Whether it’s the low collection rates that we see in the Clio Trends Report to lawyers offering too steep a discount, to lawyers refusing to sue their clients, and on and on, “Show me the money” is definitely not the #1 mantra for many of our fellow lawyers.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Financing for Law Firms Now Available Through Gravity Legal

Posted by Emery Wager on February 1, 2022

We believe lawyers and law firms have the power to change the world. Every day we interact with lawyers making positive change, sticking up for the underdog and expanding access to the justice system. But we recognize there can be tradeoffs between pursuing these aims and paying the bills. 

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Topics: Business of Law


QuickBooks for Lawyers and Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on January 20, 2022

Millions of business use QuickBooks as their accounting platform. From sole proprietors to large corporations, from cobblers to manufacturing firms, QuickBooks users come from all corners of the business world. With QuickBooks serving such a diverse set of clients, there are certain industries and business types with unique accounting needs that QuickBooks doesn't fully support out-of-the-box. Law firms fit into this category.  

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Topics: Accounting, QuickBooks Integration, QuickBooks, Business of Law


Retainers Without the Trust Account - Payments on File for Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on December 8, 2021

Trust or IOLTA accounts evoke feelings of fear and frustration. Untangling trust accounting mistakes can devour precious hours, and the risk of running afoul of the rules of professional conduct is constant. Yet for all the bad, retainers (in particular evergreen retainers) are one of the top ways to improve your firm’s collection rate. With collection rates averaging around 85% according to the 2021 Clio Trends Report, collections is a major financial drain on the legal industry.  

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 38. What are the roles of financial metrics and your physical workplace in the seven essential parts of a law firm? Interview #4 of 4 with RJon Robins

Posted by Dan Lear on December 8, 2021

In this, the fourth and final installment of our discussions with RJon Robins on the seven essential parts of a law firm, we move to the 5th and 6th essential parts of a law firm: physical plant and financial metrics and controls. The topic of physical plant naturally brings up the question of “whither physical law firms in the time of COVID?” We also discuss how intellectual property may be the most significant way that you can add value to your law firm. We wrap with a discussion of financial metrics and controls and the one metric that you as a law firm should be tracking. We also take a detour and talk briefly about Joe Walsh.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


How to Dispute a Chargeback for Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on November 24, 2021

Whether a client unilaterally decided not to pay your firm, or you made a legitimate mistake in your billing process, disputes or chargebacks on credit card transactions do occur. The card brands have processes in place for settling these disputes, and this article outlines the actions your firm can take after receiving notice of a chargeback. For information on how to avoid chargebacks, see How to Protect Your Law Firm from Chargebacks.

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 37. What is the role of profit in your law firm? An interview with Brooke Lively from Cathedral Capital

Posted by Dan Lear on November 17, 2021

Have you ever considered the role of profit in a law firm? No, I mean, really thought about what it is, why it exists, whether it should be a part of your firm, and/or how to grow it. If so, then this episode is for you.

Brooke Lively is the founder and CEO of Cathedral Capital. Her mission is simple: make law firms more profitable. And she’s written a book for lawyers all about it: From Panic to Profit.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Episode 36. What are the roles of people and production in the seven essential parts of a law firm? Interview #3 of 4 with RJon Robins

Posted by Dan Lear on November 10, 2021

In this, our third installment of our discussions with RJon Robins on the seven essential parts of a law firm, we explore the 3rd and 4th essential parts of a law firm: production and people. As a reminder, in episode #1 we discussed the seventh and final part of a successful law firm, the owner and in episode #2 we talked about sales and marketing.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


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