In these times of austerity when disposable income is being squeezed ever more tightly, law firms should be rethinking the way in which they bill their clients.
Clients are increasingly unable to afford to pay by the traditional hourly rate for legal advice no matter how good this may be.

A firm of solicitors in Oxfordshire is offering what can best be described as “pay as you go” family law advice for most issues arising from relationship breakdown.

The success of the service depends upon the client having the knowledge and time to run his or her case and being prepared to do all the legwork; leaving solicitors to give well-judged advice at key stages of the proceedings as well as drafting important letters and checking documents.

Experienced lawyers, rather than trainees, should provide the service as confident and realistic advice is required.

The system works only on a face-to-face basis rather than undertaking non-chargeable work arising from telephone calls and e-mails and the purpose of meetings should be clearly circumscribed. Clients pay for their legal advice at the conclusion of each meeting.

A standard first attendance note will cover the relevant areas and ensure the appropriate advice is given at the correct stage. Comprehensive attendance notes make it possible to keep track of how the matter is progressing and are the only record of what was said and the advice given.

Pay as you go legal advice has significant benefits for both lawyers and clients.

For the lawyer:-

• all time is paid for

• cash flow is improved – time spent to fees recovered in one smooth transaction

• there is no bad debt

For the client:-

• the process is simple; effective and flexible

• there are considerable cost savings

• a case is concluded two or three months earlier than normal due to the fact that the client can progress things as fast or slow as they wish