"I'm Thinking It Over!"


Those of us in the vicinity of a "certain age" will remember one of the most famous comedy skits of all time, whether we heard it on the radio or saw it on a grainy black-and-white TV. Comedian Jack Benny, who created for himself the persona of a notorious tightwad, is suddenly confronted by a robber who demands, "Your money or your life!" Benny is immobile and silent. "Did you hear me," the robber repeats, "I said, 'Your money or your life.'" At last Jack responds: "I'm thinking it over!"

Plenty of law firms face the same dilemma today when a client demands, "Give me a 10%, across-the-board rate cut, or I will take my business elsewhere." Some firms may feel they have no choice, but others, like Jack Benny, are paralyzed as they "think it over." I believe it is fundamental to "The Business of Law"® that lawyers should resist discounting their fees - particularly if the client has earlier agreed to pay the full amount in the engagement letter. Once you start on this slippery slope, it's hard to get off, as you begin competing against yourself. Even so, in today's legal services market a client is bound to find a law firm who will agree to a discount if your firm won't. So the question becomes, what is a viable response?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ed Poll, LawBiz | Attorney Advertising

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