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Nobody enjoys visiting the dentist, but everybody knows you still must pay him or her on the day of service. Attorneys, however, have historically let the client lead the payment dance. Lawyers do the work and hope/expect to be paid without waiting too long or discounting the invoice too steeply. What can we do differently?
I arrived early for my root canal last week, and as if the anticipatory anxiety wasn’t bad enough, it was heightened when I realized that I left my wallet at home. Why the increased anxiety? Because I knew that dentists require payment before you leave the office. As I was worrying about my wallet, I had an epiphany — lawyers can learn a lot from dentists, especially when it comes to establishing billing and collecting expectations. (Dentists have successfully eliminated the billing component, which has been replaced by the payment receipt.)
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Due to a law firm’s team-oriented approach to business development and client service efforts, it is not always clear who should logically and most efficiently serve as the billing partner for a client or a particular client matter. A person should only be a billing partner if he or she is or will be performing the functions outline herein.
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A new crop of leaders is gearing up to take the helm. Like their brethren before them, they have little in the way of formal experience or training for the roles they are about to inherit.
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