Emery Wager

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.

Emery Wager

Emery Wager
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Recent Posts

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 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


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


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


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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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


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


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


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


How to Protect Your Law Firm from Chargebacks

Posted by Emery Wager on January 27, 2021

A chargeback is a credit card processing term for a transaction that is processed successfully but is later reversed. This article is focused on how to limit chargebacks before they occur. If your law firm has already received a chargeback notification, see How to Dispute a Chargeback for Law Firms.  

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Topics: Business of Law


Virtual Learning: Credit Card Fees for Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on December 3, 2020

For many law firms, credit card processing fees are a sizeable item on the income statement. Because there are a variety of different types of processing fees, it can be difficult to determine exactly how much a firm is paying and how those fees can be reduced.

This event is designed for accounting and financial consulting professionals who work with and advise law firms. We will cover:

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Topics: Firm Financials, Credit Card Fees, Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Litigation from the Client's Perspective - An Interview with Dan Price

Posted by Emery Wager on October 16, 2020

Recently, our team invited seasoned litigator Diana Siri Breaux, a partner at Summit Law Group in Seattle, to interview Gravity’s founder and CEO Dan Price about this very topic. As a longtime business owner, Dan has his fair share of experience with the legal system. In 2016, that experience reached new levels when Dan’s brother and co-founder, Lucas Price, took him to court after alleging that Dan’s decisions as CEO--including the decision to raise Gravity’s minimum wage to $70,000 a year--had cost him money as a minority shareholder. At stake was not just millions of dollars but the very existence of the company--and the jobs of its 120+ employees.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Business and Culture, Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Legal-ize QuickBooks with Gravity Legal and LeanLaw

Posted by Emery Wager on October 16, 2020

Many law firms use QuickBooks as their accounting solution. Some firms even use QuickBooks to send invoices. But QuickBooks as a complete time-keeping and billing solution?

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Topics: QuickBooks, Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Litigation from the Client's Perspective - Event with Dan Price

Posted by Emery Wager on October 3, 2020

Have you ever been caught in the middle of a case with no idea what your client is thinking? Take this opportunity to get inside the mind of a CEO who's been there.

In this virtual event, Diana Siri Breaux, partner at Summit Law Group in Seattle, interviews CEO Dan Price of Gravity Payments to uncover the answers to these and many other questions:

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Topics: Business and Culture, Gravity Legal News


Gravity Legal Presents at the ABA Dispute Resolution Tech Expo

Posted by Emery Wager on September 26, 2020

This September I had the pleasure of speaking to the innovative lawyers, mediators and greater dispute resolution community members at the American Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Tech Expo. 

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Topics: Firm Financials, Key Performance Metrics, IOLTA, Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Lawyers Putting Clients On Payment Plans

Posted by Emery Wager on August 21, 2020

This is a guest post by divorce attorney and firm owner, Russell Knight, of Chicago, Illinois 

Almost all lawyers have a retainer or a large initial payment for legal services. Lawyers and clients enter into engagement agreements which specify how that retainer or payment is to be accounted for. Specifically, the money will be applied towards the lawyer’s hourly billing or specifically itemized tasks.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Business of Law


From the Client's Perspective: How I Wish My Lawyer Would Talk about Money

Posted by Emery Wager on August 7, 2020

I’ve put it off all week, but the time has come. I need to pay our law firm. They do great work and have helped protect our company during difficult times. But paying their bill is not a pleasurable experience.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Business and Culture, Business of Law


Credit Card Processing for Law Firms

Posted by Emery Wager on July 16, 2020

Law firms are unique. They have unique processes and strange, sometimes archaic, rules governing the way to handle money. As a result, it's prudent for a law firm to ensure that any electronic payment processor understands and complies with these rules. Below are the most important items to check.

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Topics: Credit Card Fees, Business of Law


How to Boost Your Collection Rate

Posted by Emery Wager on July 15, 2020

Collection rate is defined as the revenue you actually collect into your operating bank account divided by the total amount invoiced. Typical collection rates for law firms are around 85%, but they vary markedly by firm. Increasing your collection rate is a great way to earn more without actually doing any additional work. 

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


Dan Talks Law Firm Finances, Company Culture and More with Mark Homer of GNGF

Posted by Emery Wager on June 27, 2020

Dan Lear was recently interviewed by Mark Homer of legal marketing firm GNGF. Dan and Mark dove into many different topics including: 

  • Company culture
  • A $70,000 minimum wage
  • The Gravity Legal platform
  • Law firm finance
  • Alternative fee structures
  • Expectations of the modern consumer of legal services
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Topics: Firm Financials, Key Performance Metrics, IOLTA, Accounting, Business and Culture, Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Gravity Legal's Dan Lear and Emery Wager Featured on Martindale-Avvo's Legal Tech Event

Posted by Emery Wager on June 26, 2020

This week Dan Lear and Emery Wager joined Erin Levine of Hello Divorce and Liam Moriarty of Lawgood to talk the future Legal Tech. 

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Topics: Firm Financials, Key Performance Metrics, Business and Culture, Gravity Legal News


Simple Strategies To Cashflow Success For Your Law Firm (even during COVID)

Posted by Emery Wager on May 30, 2020

Written By Devon Thurtle Anderson, CEO of Financial Consulting Firm, Skepsis

2011 DMTA Firm Photo

When I first left my law practice to become a law firm bookkeeper and financial strategist, I was shocked to discover how many law firms struggle with cashflow.  Even more surprising was that this struggle isn’t just limited to a few seemingly rag-tag solo general practice firms.  To the contrary, when I had a chance to look under the hood at dozens of law firms’ books and financial records – including law firms I had always seen as hugely successful – I learned that almost every law firm has a cashflow problem within any given 12-month period.  So, as part of my bookkeeping and consulting services, I set out to change that.

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Topics: Firm Financials, Credit Card Fees, Key Performance Metrics, IOLTA, Accounting, Invoices, Business of Law


The Most Important Things Lawyers Can Do in the Wake of COVID-19

Posted by Emery Wager on May 15, 2020

By Dan Price

This article was originally published on the Attorney Action Club

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already terrible inequality we have in the United States. Prior to the outbreak, income inequality was the highest it had been in fifty years. Now, with more than 30 million people unemployed, it’s likely to get even higher for the foreseeable future.

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Topics: Business and Culture, Business of Law


Two Ways Law Firms Can Reduce the Cost of Accepting Credit Cards

Posted by Emery Wager on May 15, 2020

Credit cards are a great way to get paid more quickly. The Clio trends report shows that firms who accept credit cards get paid 39% faster than those that don't. 

But credit cards are expensive. For invoice or trust payments where the client enters the card, rather than swiping or dipping, the cost generally hovers around 3%. Furthermore, credit cards are not the only way to provide a high-quality online payment experience.  

Shopping around for better rates can save you a few tenths of a percent, but here are two changes you can make to drastically reduce card fees while still getting the benefit of speedy payments. 

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


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