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Employee Compensation in Law Firms

Let’s talk about money, baby. Employee compensation in law firms feels like a taboo and frustrating concept. Generally, employees feel under-appreciated and underpaid. Employers feel like their people are generally not as committed or hardworking as they want them to be.

It feels a little like the inherit conflict between lawyers and clients. When lawyers bill hourly, their clients may feel like there is an incentive for lawyers to over bill. When clients are billed hourly, lawyers may have a hard time getting as much information as they would like from their clients, who are looking to save money. Lawyers may feel resentful if clients do not deposit money into the trust account, or they may feel stuck on a case where the fear the client won’t be paying.

Talk About It

Distrust can creep into both of these relationships. So what is the solution? While this may be uncomfortable, the solution is to talk about money. Talking about money feels like asking someone about their sex life- OFF LIMITS. But it shouldn’t be. When you start having frank conversations about money with clients and employees you are opening up the lines of communication and blasting through distrust.

There is another similarity between your relationship with clients and employees, your success is tied together. If you succeed in business, your employees have greater opportunities to succeed themselves. If you are successful on someone’s case, their whole life gets better. We are looking to create fair, transparent wins for all parties. This cannot be accomplished without communication.

I recently did a webinar with Clio and Above the Law on Law firm compensation models. The results were absolutely shocking to me. The business model of law truly is broken and unsustainable. Take some time to check it out. My section was about how law firm culture impacts your compensation model and how it can be used to make your firm stronger. Let me know what you think.

Here is a link to the replay: https://landing.clio.com/solo-small-law-firm-compensation-webinar.html