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Monday, October 29, 2007

Ind. Law - Rochester Indiana's Ted Waggoner quoted in Nov. ABA Journal

"Charging by the Slice: Value billing shows that breaking up (the case) isn’t hard to do" is the title of a feature story by Margaret Graham Tebo in the November issue of the ABA Journal. Here is how the story begins:

Blame it on Abraham Lincoln. The 16th pres­ident is often credited with the adage “A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock-in-trade.” True enough. But the question is still how to charge a client for that.

For as long as there have been lawyers, it seems, legal services have been charged by the hour.

But new technology means lawyers can be more efficient, and lawyers must serve more clients to keep billable hours up. And to many lawyers, doing the job more quickly doesn’t mean the work is worth less.

Enter value billing, a relatively new idea that’s making its way to many solos and small-firm practitioners. Lawyers break a case into its component parts, charging a specific fee for each segment. The client can stop after any segment if she doesn’t have the next payment or doesn’t think it’s worth continuing. It also prevents the lawyer from doing work before getting paid.

For example, says Ted Waggoner of Rochester, Ind. [pictured here], he might tell a client that for a certain fee he will make calls and write letters to settle a case. If the case doesn’t settle, he will conduct discovery for another set fee. If the case still doesn’t settle after discovery and the client wishes to continue and file the lawsuit, a third specific fee will be due.

“People don’t often understand the value of what you do,” Waggoner says. “Now I spend more time talking to potential clients to get a feel for what the case is worth to them.”

Waggoner is quoted again later in the story.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 29, 2007 02:45 PM
Posted to Indiana Law