According to market research by Legal Futures, a lack of fee transparency is among the top issues driving clients to hate their lawyers. Way back in 2013, Legal Futures published an eye-opening article that is worth revisiting. In the article, the British legal marketing research firm explained that after conducting 48 interviews, they discovered that clients often felt that their attorneys showed "little empathy for their situation," which in turn led the clients to worry that hiring the attorney could actually make their situation worse. Just imagine, clients are being driven away, because they think hiring a lawyer will drive a wedge between them and their potential opponent!
Further, the study also exposed an underlying concern regarding price transparency. The group went on to explain that it is a two-fold problem.
- FEE STRUCTURE. First, clients are not sure how lawyers would bill them, how they would charge, and how the fees would be overall assessed against them. They worry that they will not have control over rising costs throughout litigation. This leads to fear, anxiety and serious mistrust.
- FEE DESIGN. Second, the report showed that people simply don't understand how lawyers actually use their time and how they determine what to bill, including costs. Things like copies, expenses, and so forth were further misleading and confusing to clients.
Collectively, clients appear to feel a general sense of dread about hiring attorneys. In our own practice, Crossroad Legal deals with clients who are truly at a point of crisis. Our clients come from all walks of life. Maybe they were arrested, perhaps their children have been taken away from them by the state. Maybe they are recovering from a devastating injury. We've learned some valuable lessons over time. In particular, if we are not listening to our clients' real concerns, we will never be able to meet their expectations. Transparency is more than a word; it's a way of doing business.
At Crossroad Legal, our fees are published publicly so anyone can see them. Our clients never have to wonder if they can afford legal services. Whether it's flat fee criminal defense, pay-as-you-go pricing for parental rights defense, or open and honest pricing for contingent fee work, we make sure no one ever has to call and ask "what is this going to cost?" We continue to look for new and creative ways to make clients more comfortable with the prospect of hiring an attorney. We welcome comments and suggestions. What do you hate about lawyers, and what would you like to see done differently? We're listening!