How Do We Define Value and Fairness? It’s up to the Client

Not too long ago a client called to ask about a bill they received. They inquired as to whether the invoice was correct, and made it clear that they had expected to pay less.

On our end, everything was squared. The client called and asked us to assist with a matter and a couple of hours later, we had fulfilled that request--project completed. So I let the client know that our hourly rates are typically less than half of what comparable attorneys are charging at larger firms. I told her that I was confident that the time entries were correct.

But the conversation didn't end there. I also let our client know that if for whatever reason she felt it was fair and equitable to pay us less than the invoiced amount, she should do that and we would consider the partial payment to be payment in full. That could sound a little shocking, or could be rationalized as a perk offered to a special client. But this isn't a one-off; any time a client questions an invoice I tell them that they are right to pay whatever they believe to be a fair reflection of our value. Whether in litigation or compensation, the client is always in charge.

Besides acquiescing if a client raises an issue about or questions an invoice, we also offer countless complimentary initial consultations.  Does this mean that we're indiscriminately giving our services away? Are we undercutting ourselves in the end? Hardly, and here's why.

At Calkins Law Firm we take great pride in both our cost effectiveness and the added value we offer our clients. Wherever possible we charge a fixed fee or give an upfront estimate that we stick to. We're on the same page with clients from the get-go--we don't want any surprises, and neither do they.

So when it comes time to pay for services rendered, our clients generally don't have an issue. Over time we have built up a reliable clientele of business people who appreciate our approach. They value our services and see fit to pay our invoices in full and on time. These folks make up the majority of our business, and we're honored to have gained their trust.

Of course no arrangement is perfect, and from time to time there will be the rare perceived discrepancy. Should we have an honest difference with clients regarding an invoice, we'll work it out in a way that the client finds to be fair and equitable. At the end of the day and as far as our billing is concerned, we want our clients to always believe they have been treated well and fairly. And it's that trait that leads clients to ultimately be willing to pay in full. They know that they got what they're paying for, and often more--no tricks, gimmicks, or shady sleights of accounting here!

If you're in need of legal help and want to work with an honest firm that holds fairness and value above all else, look no further. The Calkins Law Firm team is experienced in all things business law and is ready to put that expertise to work for you. Reach out to learn more about us and to schedule a consultation. We're happy to help and feel privileged to show you just how transparent a client-attorney relationship can be.

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Benjamin Calkins

Benjamin Calkins

Ben Calkins is a well-educated, top-rated, and highly experienced business law attorney.

Ben Calkins is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. After law school, he clerked for a Federal Judge before joining one of the World’s largest law firms, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. Mr. Calkins has also worked at, and been a partner in, several of the most prominent “old style law firms” in the World.