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


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


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


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


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


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


Building Your Own Practice Management System (from ABA GPSolo Magazine)

Posted by Dan Lear on February 17, 2021

Note: This article was originally printed in the January/February 2021 issue of the ABA GP Solo Magazine.

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Topics: Business of Law


Webinar Recording: Building a Scalable Practice with Subscriptions

Posted by Dan Lear on January 30, 2021

Last week I joined Kristin Tyler from LAWCLERK to talk about how lawyers can use subscriptions to build a healthy law firm.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


Why law firms should consider integrated ACH

Posted by Dan Lear on January 28, 2021

In a weird way, eCheck or ACH payments are an anachronism. Or the name "eCheck" is, at least.

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Topics: Business of Law, Payments


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. 

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Topics: Business of Law


Why and How You Should Get Paid Electronically (from ABA GPSolo Magazine)

Posted by Dan Lear on December 12, 2020

Note: This article was originally printed in the November/December 2020 issue of the ABA GP Solo Magazine.

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Topics: Business of Law


Gravity Legal's Dan Lear on Law Firm Autopilot with Ernie 'the Attorney' Svenson

Posted by Dan Lear on December 5, 2020

Ernie “the Attorney” Svenson has been thinking about law, tech, and making law practices work better for lawyers for a long time. So, we were stoked when he invited our own Dan Lear to be a guest on his Law Firm Autopilot podcast.

The occasion was the recent release of Gravity Legal’s subscription legal services white paper and the topic was . . . wait for it . . . subscription legal services.

Dan and Ernie talked about subscription fatigue (fact or fiction?), the importance of a solid value proposition for subscription legal services, how to get started with subscription legal services, how subscriptions can allow you to leverage your highest and best use as an attorney, the economics of law firm subscriptions and how that’s related to niche marketing, and how Gravity Legal is different from LawPay.

Check out the episode here and a big thanks to Ernie for the invitation!

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Topics: Business of Law, Gravity Legal News


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


The Gravity Legal Subscription Legal Services White Paper

Posted by Dan Lear on November 16, 2020

We're very pleased to announce the release of our subscription legal services white paper. Six months and over 40 pages in the making, this is every law firm's guide to getting started with subscription legal services.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


Can lawyers accept Apple Pay?

Posted by Dan Lear on November 6, 2020

Getting paid electronically is more relevant than ever in our current pandemic moment. It's no wonder, then, that lawyers have lots of questions about how to get paid without cash or paper checks.

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Topics: GPay, Apple Pay, Venmo, Business of Law


Tools for your subscription legal services offering (Part 5)

Posted by Dan Lear on November 1, 2020

Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts on the what, why, and how of subscription legal services. You can find our first post “What are subscription legal services?” here. Our second post, "The 'why' of subscription legal services (Part 2)" is here.  The third post, "The ethics of subscription legal services (Part 3)" is here. Part 4, "How to launch your subscription legal services offering (Part 4)," can be found here.

We at Gravity Legal recently launched a suite of tools that make offering subscription legal services easy. If you'd like to learn more about the tools we’ve built,
contact us.  

We also have three episodes of our Financially Legal podcast featuring lawyers who have built and are offering subscription legal services. Check out those episodes with 
Jon Tobin, Beth Lebowitz, and Kimberly Bennett. You can also hear me and Megan Zavieh discuss the ethics of subscription legal services on her Financially Legal podcast episode.

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Topics: Subscriptions, Business of Law


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