Clarissa Rayward recently joined us to continue her fixed fee pricing series, this time with a focus on how to scope and how to do it right.
A few years ago, Clarissa Rayward’s law firm, The Brisbane Family Law Centre, made the shift from time-based billing timesheets to fixed fees. They now operate solely on fixed and value pricing. After years of troubleshooting, Clarissa now continues her tips to fixed fee pricing with ease and confidence.
Scoping can seem daunting, especially in matters that surpass your initial fixed fee scope. During this workshop, Clarissa shared:
- The key steps involved in effective scoping
- How to build project plans for your client files
- How to make sure you can create detailed scopes that allow flexibility and transparency
Here are Clarissa’s top 4 tips for fixed fee scoping
1. The more detail the better
Appropriately scoping out a legal matter at the outset takes practice and process. The right level of scope will ensure the law firm provides a more accurate fixed fee structure and will help prevent ‘bill shock’ further down the line.
Set your expectations early on. It is important to know upfront what you’re getting yourself into before you take on the matter. Ask yourself, will the project be delivered in stages? If so, what does the roadmap look like? Walk through the timeline in which you expect to hit each milestone along the way, and these are the fees associated with it.
2. Create your flowchart
Your legal workflow sets out all the steps that will be involved in completing the predictable project. One of the simplest ways to develop a workflow is to write down all the essential steps you will need to take. Your team members should also be involved in the process to ensure all the steps that you may not have been aware of are included.
3. Scope and Re-Scope
As work on the matter is underway, it is not unusual for the scope or direction to change. While this may be normal, it can also disrupt the client’s agreed budget and timeline. The best advice is to communicate with the client about the changes to the original scope of work and provide as much detail as possible. List all the changes and impacts and have all parties agree before proceeding.
4. Tiered pricing
Some law firms offer multiple packages with different inclusions and combinations available at various price points. By catering to multiple buyer personas at multiple price points, lawyers can maximise their revenue, while also providing a level of service to the people they are helping.
In efforts to see the light in fixed fee billing, these valuable tips can help prepare you to build a project plan for your client files and ensure you detail your scope that allows flexibility and transparency. For other tips regarding fixed-fee pricing, download our free fixed fee pricing eBook 'Move beyond the billable hour'.
If you’re ready to learn more about how Smokeball legal practice management software can help your firm to be more organised, productive, and profitable, contact us for a free personalised demonstration.
About Clarissa Rayward
Clarissa Rayward is a Divorce Lawyer and the Owner of Brisbane Family Law Centre. Over the past 14 years, Clarissa has worked with thousands of families during separation and divorce. She specialises in assisting her clients to experience a dignified divorce - staying away from the Court process and finding sustainable agreements for the future. Clarissa tackles the challenging issue of unhappiness in the legal profession through her writing and weekly Podcast ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ where she interviews lawyers who have found a way to maintain a successful career in the law while not giving up their life outside of their career.