Lions and Tigers and Lawyers, Oh My!

Notice to everyone I deal with in business or in my personal life.  I don’t like surprises in bills, unless of course it’s less than I anticipated, but that’s never, and I repeat, never been the case.

As posted recently on my site, I completed a Management Buy Out of the company I presently work at.  Over the past few weeks, the legal bills started to come in.  I have two questions – Why is it that the legal profession is the ONLY profession where little things like estimates or quotes have absolutely no meaning?  My lawyer friends might argue that quotes or estimates are irrelevant because (say the next words in quotes with a scrunched up face and a deep voice) “it’s impossible to know how much time we’ll spend on a file, it depends on many different factors” .  To this I reply – “exactly like most other Time and Billing businesses including consulting,  accounting, home improvements, etc.

But even if I were to let the first question slide, and I’m not, the next question would be “Does that mean once I engage you, it’s a blank check? ”

Not a single lawyer I know would say “yes, it’s a blank check,” but the reality is that in general, they expect you to pay for their time – regardless of how much time they spent.  All I ask for is the ability to decide how much to spend, be informed, and have the option to make decisions.

When you get the bill at the end of the file, it’s too late.  Imagine if my services people did that with one of my customers.  I’d be out of business in no time flat.  Why is it that lawyers don’t have to operate by the same business standards?  My lawyers argument is “we did the work, you know our rates, so pay the bill.”  All true, but what I didn’t know was the hours they would  spend.  And that is the X factor they seem to not want to discuss.

~ by lschwartz on November 29, 2010.

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