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.

Episode 34. What is the role of the law firm owner as one of the seven essential parts of a law firm? Interview #1 of 4 with RJon Robins

Posted by Dan Lear on October 20, 2021

Is law a business or is it a profession? Are law firms like other businesses? Are they different? How different? 

RJon Robins is the CEO and Founder of How To Manage a Small Law Firm, the largest provider of fractional executive (CEO, CFO, COO) services for small law firms in the country. I’ve known about How To Manage a Small Law Firm for a number of years. I first attended and spoke at one of their quarterly meetings a few years back, when I was working for Avvo. I’ve since attended a couple of other meetings and spent more time with RJon. 

 

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Gravity Legal - Now Available in the Reynen Court Solution Store

Posted by Dan Lear on October 13, 2021

Vetting, deploying, and managing new technology takes a lot of time and can be expensive. More to the point, while much of today’s cloud computing technology uses some common technologies, the implementation can vary significantly even in the cloud. This can be a real headache for law firms who not only often deal with sensitive information but have specific rules and heightened standards regarding how confidential and privileged information must be protected. 

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 33. How can you test and deploy new technology inexpensively and securely at your small law firm? An interview with Christian Lang from Reynen Court

Posted by Dan Lear on October 13, 2021

Small law firm owners may not be familiar with the terms "docker," "container," or "Kubernetes." They may even be a bit fuzzy on the definition of “the cloud.” But most firms know that, along with significant opportunities, new technologies often present security risks, interoperability challenges (will this system work with my other systems? And/or will my staff be open to using/willing to use this tech?) and, most relevant for the Financially Legal audience, significant costs in terms of time and money to vet, test, and deploy.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Can Bankruptcy Lawyers Accept Credit Cards?

Posted by Dan Lear on September 25, 2021

You can’t really blame consumer bankruptcy attorneys for being finicky about how they get paid. After all, would-be clients wouldn’t be knocking on the door if the those debtors had managed their money well and been able to regularly pay their debts. As a result, many bankruptcy attorneys do way more gymnastics than other lawyers to ensure they get paid. For example, insisting upon upfront payment, payment by the debtor’s friends or family, automated payments that fall a debtor-client’s payday, or even the development of a new type of bankruptcy, bifurcated bankruptcy, that changes how clients pay in order to improve their odds of getting paid (we won’t get into bifurcated bankruptcy here but watch this space for a subsequent post on the topic). You’ve got to hand it to them.

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Topics: Business of Law


Beyond Credit Cards: 3 Quick Tips to Optimize Payments at Your Law Firm

Posted by Dan Lear on September 25, 2021

Listen, we here at Gravity Legal work hard for the money we get paid. Payments isn’t as mentally straining as rocket science or physically demanding as coal mining but it is a fairly complex regulated business and we work really hard to try and make things great for our law firm customers. And while there are still a handful of bar associations that want to make it harder for law firms to accept electronic payments (we’re looking at you Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, West Virginia, Alabama, and Michigan), today most law firms are largely free to take advantage of the collections and convenience benefits that accepting electronic payments offers.  

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 32. How can you get started with financial management at your law firm? An interview with Chelsea Williams from Core Solutions Group, Inc

Posted by Dan Lear on September 22, 2021

We all know the cliches and the tropes: Lawyers are terrible business people, lawyers went to law school to avoid math, law firms aren’t businesses, etc . . . . 

Many of these statements are true in some pretty fundamental ways. But they’re also really damaging. Even if we take the most mission-driven do-goodery lawyer in private practice the simple facts remain that (a) they can’t help others if they, themselves, can’t survive financially, (b) they can’t help others very well if they’re constantly scrimping, saving, cutting corners, working late, and losing sleep due to financial issues, and (c) they’ll help more people with a larger law firm.

Superaccountant-to-law-firms extraordinaire, Chelsea Williams, has the remedy. Combining her dozen-plus years of accounting experience with the eye that she’s trained on legal in the form of her company, Core Solutions Group, Inc, which provides tax, accounting and cash management services exclusively for lawyers and law firms, Chelsea’s developed a course called “Law Firm Money Mastery” that’s designed to help all small firm lawyers - but particularly those just getting started up to those with $1M in annual revenue - to not only get their financial houses in order but to help them figure out how to make the money in their law firms work for them.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Gravity Legal at BEDLAM

Posted by Dan Lear on August 21, 2021

Gravity Legal's Dan Lear will present at the upcoming BEDLAM conference on August 26th at 9 AM PDT. The BEDLAM conference is put on by four legal marketing agencies and is packed with useful tools and tricks for firms to "help separate growth-minded firms from the pack."

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Topics: Gravity Legal News


Make your legal practice more efficient with myLawCLE

Posted by Dan Lear on August 21, 2021

On Monday August 23rd Gravity Legal will give a presentation on subscription legal services as a part of their broader half-day program: "Making your Legal Practice More Efficient in 2021: Outsourcing, legal subscriptions, modern project management, and the Agile Methodology"

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Topics: Gravity Legal News


From ABA Law Practice Today: Three Payments Hacks To Improve Your Firm’s Profit Margin Today

Posted by Dan Lear on August 21, 2021

Small law firms live or die by cash flow. A few extra percentage points on revenue can help a firm make payroll or pay rent (hopefully not, but “gulp!”), buy software, hire, experiment with a new practice area, or even innovate on a new product or service. But extra revenue rarely comes easy. What if you had a wayusing existing systemsto immediately find additional revenue for your law firm?

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Understanding Financial Statements for Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on July 28, 2021

This is a guest post by law firm financial expert Brandy Derrick of Legal Ease Bookkeeping

 

Every career has its own set of lingo, special terms, and years of learning to master.  Attorneys work very hard to become skilled in their field, mastering enormous amounts of knowledge, terminology, and concepts.  Although busy with his or her practice, an attorney would do well to learn the basic terms of the financial statements.  Understanding each one will help an attorney profit and make adjustments in business.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Key Performance Metrics, Business of Law


Sample Collections Workflow

Posted by Emery Wager on July 21, 2021
Whether you employ flat-fee or hourly billing, getting clients to pay on time is key to running a financially healthy firm. But getting clients to pay isn’t easy. Outstanding invoices may hurt firms financially, result in hidden costs, and risk damaging relationships with clients.
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Gravity Legal Guide to the Best Lawyer Communities

Posted by Dan Lear on July 13, 2021

Though lawyers are a solitary profession - they spend a surprising amount of time in their own heads - they’re also remarkably social. We made a cursory count recently and came up with 103 state, regional, local, and specialty bar associations. And we feel fairly confident that the total number is certainly double or even triple that. Feels like as long as there have been lawyers, there have been bar associations.

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Topics: Business of Law


Dan on Facebook Live with LegalEase Marketing

Posted by Dan Lear on July 7, 2021

Gravity Legal's Dan Lear joined Jordan Ostroff from LegalEase Marketing on FaceBook live to discuss how law firms can improve money management and accelerate growth. You can catch the recording here.

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Topics: Gravity Legal News


The Complete Guide to Payment Processing for Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on July 6, 2021

Although electronic payments are not relevant for every firm, most law firms do at least a portion of their business by issuing ongoing invoices. For these firms, the data is clear: Electronic payments matter.

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Topics: Business of Law


Gravity Legal White Paper On Shifting Credit Card Fees

Posted by Dan Lear on July 2, 2021

Here's our nearly 20 page white paper on law firms shifting processing credit card processing fees to clients.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Credit Card Fees, Business of Law


Profits Per Partner...Really?

Posted by Dan Lear on June 14, 2021

Every year, to much fanfare, The American Lawyer releases a list of the largest law firms in the world, also known as the AmLaw 100. 

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Two Dans talk Legal Technology on the LawLytics Podcast

Posted by Dan Lear on June 10, 2021

I recently joined another attorney Dan, Dan Jaffe, from LawLytics for a great conversation that, yes, touched on Gravity Legal and on Dan's business, LawLytics, but was mostly focused on a favorite topic of mine, legal technology. On the Gravity Legal side we covered Gravity Legal's credit card fee shifting technology and integrated ACH features, the Gravity Legal Zapier integration, and the forthcoming Gravity Legal Quickbooks integration. 

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Episode 31. BONUS EPISODE: Does sales make you uncomfortable? A 'friendscast' episode with Jaimee Hall

Posted by Dan Lear on June 9, 2021

One of my lawyer mentors once told me “if you don’t like to sell, don’t be a CEO.” Many solo lawyers set out to make a difference or have an impact - not to be a CEO. But whether you want to call them CEOs or managing partners, or partners, or business owners - the fact remains that they are heads of their respective businesses - effectively, they are “CEOs.” And if you want to be a CEO, you need to get comfortable with selling.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Episode 30: What can a law professor and his student teach you about law practice? Tyson Mutrux and Jim Hacking - Lawyer Community Miniseries - Episode #4

Posted by Dan Lear on May 25, 2021

What started as conversations between two friends - actually a law professor and his student - evolved into a movement. Maximum Lawyer boasts a 5000 member Facebook group, over 200 hours of podcast content, two sold-out conferences, a paid community, and a course to help lawyers and firms grow. Oh, and did I mention that the prof and his former student both have successful law firms in their own right? Jim Hacking, the law professor, and Tyson Mutrux, the former student, are the leaders of Maximum Lawyer. Listen on to hear how they're helping lawyers to build strong, resilient practices.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture, Lawyer Communities


Episode 29: Are lawyers entrepreneurs? An interview with Stephanie Everett from Lawyerist - Lawyer Community Miniseries - Episode #3

Posted by Dan Lear on May 19, 2021

The founder of the Lawyerist website, Sam Glover, once told me that he started Lawyerist because he was mad at a practice management company and wanted a place to complain. He gave birth to a technology blog that’s morphed into a large and well-known online legal destination. But Lawyerist is way more than a website. Through freely available web content, its free-to-join Insider program, and the paid Lawyerist community, Lawyerist Lab, Lawyerist provides ongoing strategic and tactical advice to budding lawyer-entrepreneurs.

In this installment in our Lawyer Communities series (see a summary of the series and our broad takeaways here) we dig in to understand how all the pieces of the Lawyerist puzzle fit together and whether it’s a community you might want to be a part of.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture, Lawyer Communities


Law Practice in Six Words - Announcing our Integration with Matter365

Posted by Dan Lear on May 14, 2021

I’ve been working in legal technology for a while. I’ve been thinking about it for even longer than that. And I worked at Microsoft before that. And, if there’s one thing that I know about lawyers - even today - it’s that Lawyers. Love. Microsoft Office. Practice management systems come and go, accounting software ebbs and flows, some lawyers try document automation. But just about every lawyer and law firm uses Office.

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Dan Lear Talks Subscription Legal on Five Star Counsel Podcast

Posted by Emery Wager on May 14, 2021

Subscriptions were the name of the game when Dan Lear recently chatted with Houston Estate Planning attorney John Strohmeyer, the namesake of Strohmeyer Law, on John's podcast, Five Star Counsel.

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Episode 28: Has this community of lawyers solved what's wrong with social media? An interview with Keith Lee and Jeremy Richter from LawyerSmack - Lawyer Community Miniseries - Episode #2

Posted by Dan Lear on May 12, 2021

If you’ve been even mildly paying attention over the last, well, year but even the last few years, you’ve watched as social media has become a challenging environment to navigate. And this comes from someone who is very bullish on technology in general and even social media in specific.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture, Lawyer Communities


How Tiered Processing Pricing Rips Lawyers Off

Posted by Dan Lear on May 6, 2021

Here on Financially Legal we recently wrote about the three main ways payment processors rip lawyers off: tiered pricing, monthly fees, and limiting available payment methods. You can read that article for the higher-level discussion but, as we mentioned, tiered pricing deserves its own discussion. We dig in on that here.

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Topics: Business of Law


Three Ways Payment Processors Rip Lawyers Off

Posted by Dan Lear on May 6, 2021

We legal folks are hardly unbiased about the good that we think we do in the world but there’s little doubt that lawyers really do play an important role in our society. In fact, one of the interpretations of the famous line from Shakespeare’s Henry VI “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers” is that killing all the lawyers is the fastest way to societal chaos, not societal improvement. Lawyers are the bulwark against tyranny and government overreach and the defenders of the rule of law.

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Topics: Business of Law


Episode 27: Is the key to unlocking law firm economic success between your ears? An interview with Allison Williams from Law Firm Mentor - Lawyer Community Miniseries - Episode #1

Posted by Dan Lear on May 5, 2021

Here on Financially Legal we often focus on the nuts and bolts of finance and economics but, often, the biggest obstacles to economic and business success are not financial or even business-related but mental.

In this episode, we dive in on mindset - and we’re doing it with someone who thinks about this deeply - Allison Williams is a Business Coach for Solo Law Firm Owners at Law Firm Mentor. She’s also the CEO and Founder of a multimillion-dollar law firm, the Williams Law Group.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture, Lawyer Communities


Episode 26: Should you shift credit card fees to your clients?

Posted by Dan Lear on April 23, 2021

What if I told you there was a tool that could automatically increase your firm revenue by 1%? What about 2%? What about 3%? What about even half a percent? (if you’re not great at doing math on the fly, for a firm that grosses $1,000,000/year, one half a percent is $5000).

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Shifting Credit Card Processing Fees: What Law Firms Need To Know

Posted by Dan Lear on April 20, 2021

Accepting electronic payment is table stakes for most lawyers and law firms.

The Clio Trends Report has been fairly explicit about the benefits of electronic payments:

  • The 2019 Clio Trends Report stated that 57 percent of electronic payments get paid the same day they are billed, and 85 percent get paid within a week.
  • The 2018 Clio Trends Report found that 38 percent of consumers prefer to make payments electronically via email, online portal, or on the web.
  • Finally, that same 2018 report indicated that 50 percent of consumers are more likely to hire a lawyer who takes electronic payments, or, stated another way, 40 percent would never hire a lawyer who doesn’t take credit or debit cards.
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Topics: Business of Law


Best Practices for Law Firms Shifting Card Fees

Posted by Dan Lear on April 19, 2021

There’s a lot to think about if your firm is considering shifting credit card fees to clients - is this practice right for our firm? How should we communicate about it to clients? Is it permissible in our state? Do our local rules of professional conduct permit it? What method should our firm use?
The good news is that it’s not that complicated. You’ll likely be good to go if you adhere to some simple best practices. Below we’ve compiled a list of best practices for two of the most common ways that merchants implement shifting credit card fees: cash discounting and surcharging. We’ll start with discounting:

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Topics: Business of Law


The Many Flavors of Credit Card Fee Shifting

Posted by Dan Lear on April 19, 2021

Although you've probably been charged a separate fee to use a credit card with a given business you may not know that businesses haven't always been able to do this.

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Topics: Business of Law


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