Generally, lawyers’ legal services are followed by a bill (which is often much larger than expected). The vast majority of people pay the bill regardless of the result or services provided. However, that is not the case with many corporations and self-made millionaires. According to many self-made millionaires, legal fees are voluntary “ALL THE TIME.” So, when should people pay their legal bills? Only after receiving valuable legal services, millionaires say.
The trend for self-made millionaires and corporations is to start negotiations every time they receive a bill from a lawyer. Especially for large corporations, “it’s almost habitual . . . to question legal bills and drive them down.” Those who question and negotiate their legal fees generally pay less than initially billed for.
This trend will likely extend “beyond corporations and the wealthy, moving incrementally down the financial spectrum,” says Russ Alan Prince, the president of R.A. Prince & Associates, Inc. According to Prince, “the next time you run up some legal bills, consider the value you got and decide like many self-made millionaires, what you should pay[.]”
But, what should lawyers do about this trend? It’s generally not in their best interest to negotiate over legal fees. To preserve time, money, and business relationships, “writing off the differences is sometimes the wisest course of action.” Instead of focusing on fees, lawyers should focus on the value they are providing, says Prince. Lawyers who focus on providing competent legal services and communicate those values to clients are far more likely to be compensated for those services than those who don’t.