Are you worth $350 an hour?

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If you have clients who willingly pay the fees you charge, whether that’s hourly or flat fee or some other basis, it seems clear that you are worth what you charge, at least to those clients.

Ah, but I’m not asking if you’re charging more than you’re worth, in case that’s what you were thinking. I’m asking if you’re charging less than you’re worth, or, more accurately, less than the market will pay.

If you charge $350 per hour (or the equivalent), what if you could get as much work at $450 per hour? What would that do to your bottom line? Who says you couldn’t get $550 per hour?

C’mon, you know you’ve thought about this before?

When you set up shop, you looked at what other lawyers were charging and set your fees somewhere in the same neighborhood, right?

You have to stay competitive, right?

Then, when other attorneys raised their fees, you (eventually) raised yours.

Something like that?

Well, if “average” is okay with you, I understand why you would do this.

But what if you want to earn more than average? What if you’re worth more than the average?

There’s only one way to find out.

Increase your fees and see if the market will pay more.

You can do that with your existing clients. If you lose some, you might make up for that loss by the increased fees paid by the ones who stay, plus the higher fees paid by new clients.

If you lose 20% of your clients but you get 20% more from everyone else, you’re way ahead.

The other way to do it is to hold the line with existing clients (for now) and charge new clients the higher fee.

“What if clients won’t pay more?”

What if they will?

What if you don’t lose any clients?

What if you could increase your income by 30% with the stroke of a pen? What if you’ve been under-charging your clients for a long time?

Before you twist yourself into a knot agonizing over this decision, I have one more thought for you:

Raising your fees might actually help you attract more clients.

It’s true. There’s no competition at the top. The most expensive lawyers in town don’t usually have a shortage of clients.

Yes, there are other factors in play, but how much a lawyer is worth is subjective. If you charge more, in the eyes of many, you’re worth more.

Chew on that for awhile.

This may help you figure things out

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