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.

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


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


Dan Lear Featured on Allison Williams' Crushing Chaos Podcast

Posted by Emery Wager on April 17, 2021

Allison Williams, the Law Firm Mentor, helps law firms grow and reach their full potential. Her podcast, Crushing Chaos, tackles all sorts of issues lawyers face while working to grow their firms. 

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Virtual Event - Work Less, Earn More - How to Make 2021 Your Law Firm's Best Year Yet

Posted by Emery Wager on April 2, 2021

Even with the effects of COVID still lingering, we as attorneys have an opportunity to make 2021 our firms' best year yet. Join Gravity Legal and law firm financial consultant Devon Thurtle Anderson of Skepsis Technologies as we explore the unique opportunities 2021 offers for law firms. We'll discuss how firms can seize these opportunities to realize both short and long-term growth. Spoiler alert: Our strategies don't require raising rates or working more hours! In fact, we specifically recommend against that.

Register Here

Some of the topics we'll cover include:

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Episode 25: Is delegation just a fancy word for "giving permission?" An interview with Lindsey Corbin from delegate.legal

Posted by Dan Lear on March 31, 2021

There’s probably no principle more important to growing and scaling a law firm than delegation. Whether it’s identifying the tasks that need to be done, teaching and coaching others to do them, or simply letting go, you’ll be hard-pressed to grow your legal business if you can’t delegate. If you’ve ever wondered how delegation might work in your firm and how to get started, this episode is for you.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Webinar Replay: Zapier 101 for Law Firms

Posted by Dan Lear on March 28, 2021

With our recently announced Zapier integration we at Gravity Legal are excited about the power of automation - and especially automated payments - for lawyers and law firms. 

While Zapier is a technically a no-code development platform, defined in Wikipedia as a platform that "allows programmers and non-programmers to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming," it still has a modest complexity, especially for folks who have very little background in programming. 

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Topics: Gravity Legal News, Zapier, Payment automation


Episode 24: What is Zapier and what can you do with it? Host Dan Lear discusses how Zapier can extend the power of the web

Posted by Dan Lear on March 19, 2021

If you’ve ever wondered how to tie together different systems in your law practice, you need to know about Zapier.

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Topics: Financially Legal Episodes, Business and Culture


Automating Legal Payments Workflows Using Zapier

Posted by Dan Lear on March 19, 2021

One of the most important things about law practice is getting paid. With the advent of electronic payments technology, the process of getting paid can be easier than ever. Some of you may be saying "Advent?!?!? PayPal is more than 20 years old!" But research suggests that fewer than 25% of lawyers actually use some kind of  electronic payments technology. The vast majority of lawyers are still getting paid by some combination of cash, checks, and wires. But I digress.

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Topics: Business of Law


Gravity Legal Database of Legal Zapier Integrations

Posted by Dan Lear on March 19, 2021

Zapier is really powerful. Some law firms struggle to get the most out of it not because they don't know how to use Zapier but because they don't know about everything it can do.

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Topics: Business of Law


How the heck do I use Zapier?

Posted by Emery Wager on March 16, 2021

Zapier is a no-code platform that helps businesses and individuals automate work by connecting different applications. But don't let "no-code" fool you. There is a learning curve associated with Zapier. This post explains the basics of Zapier and how it works with Gravity Legal. If you want to go one level deeper and see some examples of legal-specific Zaps as well learn more about the "why" of Zapier, check out our recent longer-form post on automating legal payments with Zapier.

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Topics: Business of Law, Integrations, Zapier


The Dos and Don'ts of Paid Consultations for Attorneys - Webinar Resources

Posted by Dan Lear on March 8, 2021

On March 8 Law Firm Mentor's Allison Williams and Maddy Martin from Smith.ai and I held a webinar about whether and how to charge for initial consultations called “The Dos and Don'ts of Paid Consultations for Attorneys.” You can watch the webinar replay here

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Topics: Business of Law, Integrations


Can you bill clients for initial consultations?

Posted by Dan Lear on March 6, 2021


Of course you can.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "A Lawyer's Time and Advice is His Stock and Trade.” While it’s true that an initial consultation has that word “initial” tacked in front of it, it’s still a “consultation.” And that means it’s a period of time in which a lawyer dispenses advice. If Lincoln thinks it’s OK, it’s probably OK.

But you already knew that. The bigger questions are really, should you charge for initial consultations? And, how to charge for initial consultations?

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Topics: Business of Law


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