The ultimate goal is to differentiate your law practice from every other lawyer. Easier said than done, right? But here’s one thing you can do now that will instantly make your practice different.
In New York, lawyers are ethically permitted to accept complete responsibility for case expenses in the event there is no monetary recovery, i.e., you lose the case. And let’s face a simple truth, our clients (at least 99% of them) don’t have the assets or income to reimburse us for cases expenses if you they lose their case. Then why do we still insist that our clients are responsible for case expenses when you know they won’t be able to pay them?
How to Differentiate your Law Firm in your Retainer Agreement
You should use your retainer agreement to accept sole responsibility for case expenses (called “disbursements” in New York) if there is no recovery of money. My retainer agreements read,
If there is no recovery of money whether by settlement, judgment or otherwise, the Client will not be responsible to reimburse the Attorney for case expenses incurred before and during the lawsuit.
By accepting sole responsibility for cases expenses in the event there is no monetary recovery, you just became different from every other injury lawyer in your town. But you can’t stop there—you have to educate prospective clients about the key differences between you and every other law firm. Specifically, you won’t send them into bankruptcy if they lose their case.
Rather than using the same ole’ boilerplate retainer agreement that you’ve always used, think outside-the-box with a client-friendly retainer agreement that actually safeguards their interests (instead of your’s).