So, if your clients do not buy your time, what do they buy?

They buy access to your intellectual capital – the value of which cannot be measured by time.

I advocate that we should, as a profession, agree our fees up front with our clients before we undertake any work. This is how the vast majority of the rest of the business world price their services. This is how you personally purchase nearly everything. Why should we expect our clients to buy something they do not, and we do not, know the price of upfront?

Believe me, I have heard every reason imaginable why law firms are different to all other businesses, and why it is impossible to price our services upfront (most common of course is “we don’t know how long this will take”). I don’t accept any of the reasons proffered – they are simply excuses. You know, as well as I do, that you price some of your services upfront when a client or market forces insist. Every law firm in the world could price their services up front-they just choose not to. Too many law firms are now pricing all their services upfront for anyone to say it cannot be done.

PricingJohn Chisholm