The Economics of Consumer Law Practice Houston 2012 Ronald L. Burdge The Law Coach .com © 2012 RLBurdge
Do Good © 2012 RLBurdge
Do Good You have to   Do Well If you want to © 2012 RLBurdge
Planning Now for a Practice Later <ul><li>“ Personal  Life” Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>vs  – </li></ul><ul><li>“ Law  ...
Rules to Remember Knowing Your Numbers © 2012 RLBurdge Tips on Starting a Practice
Tips on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Starting a Consumer Law Practice Without Clients </li></ul><ul><li>(and Without Starvi...
Tip #1 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Read </li></ul><ul><li>Jay Foonberg’s </li></ul><ul><li>Book </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
Tip #2 on Starting a Practice Market yourself to other lawyers © 2012 RLBurdge
Tip #3 on Starting a Practice Avoid costly phone book display ads © 2012 RLBurdge
Tip #4 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Get an easy-to-remember </li></ul><ul><li>phone number </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
Tip #5 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Publish a Professional Announcement </li></ul><ul><li>In local bar newsletter </li><...
Tip #6 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Write articles </li></ul><ul><li>on Consumer Law </li></ul><ul><li>for bar newslette...
Tip #7 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Give speeches to  </li></ul><ul><li>Bar Organizations  </li></ul><ul><li>and civic g...
Tip #8 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Hire a support staffer </li></ul><ul><li>who has the aptitude </li></ul><ul><li>to r...
Tip #9 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Set up your own web site yourself </li></ul><ul><li>And use a catchy name and then b...
Tip #10 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>1  + 1  + 1  + 1  + 1  =  1 </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
Tip #11 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Pick an easy-to-find location </li></ul><ul><li>for your new office </li></ul>© 201...
Tip #12 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Set up your office in same Building  </li></ul><ul><li>with other attorney offices,...
Tip #13 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Pay referral fees  in cookies   </li></ul><ul><li>to referring attorney’s secretary...
Tip #14 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Write a column </li></ul><ul><li>on Consumer Law </li></ul><ul><li>for local newspa...
Tip #15 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Limit contingency fee cases </li></ul><ul><li>to ½ your case load </li></ul>© 2012 ...
Tip #16 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Remember:  the  best  advertising you will ever get is from a happy client. </li></...
Bonus Time ! © 2012 RLBurdge
www .   The   Law   Coach   . com © 2012 RLBurdge
www .   The   Law   Coach   . com © 2012 RLBurdge
www. The Law Coach .com © 2012 RLBurdge
The Practice of Law ? © 2012 RLBurdge
Riches to Rags © 2012 RLBurdge
Riches to Rags <ul><li>The </li></ul><ul><li>King </li></ul><ul><li>of </li></ul><ul><li>Torts </li></ul><ul><li>Melvin Be...
Rags to Riches © 2012 RLBurdge
Rags to Riches © 2012 RLBurdge
Old Rule   <ul><li>$ in </li></ul><ul><li>Bills paid out </li></ul><ul><li>=  $ Left Over  </li></ul><ul><li>(your profit)...
© 2012 RLBurdge
New Rule <ul><li>It’s a  Business </li></ul><ul><li>Run it like one </li></ul><ul><li>The Name of the Game:  Profit </li><...
<ul><li>“ What do you mean, my paycheck will be a little late this week?” </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
New Rule <ul><li>Be a  Lawyer </li></ul><ul><li>Not  a Business Manager </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
<ul><li>The </li></ul><ul><li>Problem </li></ul><ul><li>Solution? </li></ul>
New Rule <ul><li>Hire  a Business Manager </li></ul><ul><li>And Pay them Well </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
SCORE.org © 2012 RLBurdge
New Rule <ul><li>Have a Budget </li></ul><ul><li>And Live by it </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
Time Management Matters © 2012 RLBurdge
Time Gobblers <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing Priorities </li></ul><ul><li>“ Paper” Shuffling </li></ul><ul><li>...
New Rule <ul><li>Have a Budget </li></ul><ul><li>And Live by it </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
New Rule <ul><li>Know Your “Break Even” Number </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
New Rule <ul><li>Know Your  Daily  Numbers </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
New Rule <ul><li>Recalculate Your Hourly Rate </li></ul><ul><li>Reverse  Calculate it </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
Know Your Numbers <ul><li>EGN  /   IGN  =  Hourly Rate </li></ul><ul><li>Expense Generating Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Divi...
Expense Generating Numbers <ul><li>Taxes Rent </li></ul><ul><li>Salaries Telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Utilities   Debt Reti...
Income Generating Numbers <ul><li>Total Firm Billable Hours </li></ul><ul><li>Whose  hours ? </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
Total Firm Billable Hours <ul><li>Attorney </li></ul><ul><li>Paralegal – Law Clerk </li></ul><ul><li>Secretary </li></ul>©...
Weight the Rates © 2012 RLBurdge
Weekly Billable Hours © 2012 RLBurdge 70 Total 5 20 .25 Secretary 20 40 .5 Paralegal 45 45 1 Attorney Billable Hours Avail...
Reverse Calculating Hourly Rate <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>1 Attorney - $100 k  Salary </li></ul><ul><li>1 Paraleg...
Reverse Calculating Hourly Rate <ul><li>Expense Generating Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Divided by </li></ul><ul><li>Income G...
Expense Generating Numbers <ul><li>Taxes Rent </li></ul><ul><li>Salaries Telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Utilities   Debt Reti...
Reverse Calculating Hourly Rate <ul><li>$7,000 + 15% = $8,050 (EGN) </li></ul><ul><li>Divided by </li></ul><ul><li>70 – 15...
New Rule <ul><li>It’s a  Business </li></ul><ul><li>Run it like one </li></ul><ul><li>The Name of the Game:  Profit </li><...
New Rule <ul><li>The Cost of Losing Billable Time: </li></ul><ul><li>15 min/day = 1.25   Hr/wk </li></ul><ul><li>= 65 Hr/y...
Bonus Time ! © 2012 RLBurdge
Top 3 New Rules <ul><li>To  Really  Succeed </li></ul><ul><li>1.  Be a Lawyer, not a Manager </li></ul><ul><li>2.  Know Yo...
Business Helpers © 2012 RLBurdge
You have to Do Well If You want to Do Good Houston 2012 Ronald L. Burdge The Law Coach .com © 2012 RLBurdge
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Economics of Practicing Consumer Law 2012

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A half hour CLE slide show presentation to law students and also intended for new lawyers, explaining tips and practices on how to make a living handling Consumer Law cases in the United States, presented at the University of Houston Law Center in 2012.

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Economics of Practicing Consumer Law 2012

  1. 1. The Economics of Consumer Law Practice Houston 2012 Ronald L. Burdge The Law Coach .com © 2012 RLBurdge
  2. 2. Do Good © 2012 RLBurdge
  3. 3. Do Good You have to Do Well If you want to © 2012 RLBurdge
  4. 4. Planning Now for a Practice Later <ul><li>“ Personal Life” Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>vs – </li></ul><ul><li>“ Law Life” Social Media </li></ul>
  5. 5. Rules to Remember Knowing Your Numbers © 2012 RLBurdge Tips on Starting a Practice
  6. 6. Tips on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Starting a Consumer Law Practice Without Clients </li></ul><ul><li>(and Without Starving) </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  7. 7. Tip #1 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Read </li></ul><ul><li>Jay Foonberg’s </li></ul><ul><li>Book </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  8. 8. Tip #2 on Starting a Practice Market yourself to other lawyers © 2012 RLBurdge
  9. 9. Tip #3 on Starting a Practice Avoid costly phone book display ads © 2012 RLBurdge
  10. 10. Tip #4 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Get an easy-to-remember </li></ul><ul><li>phone number </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  11. 11. Tip #5 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Publish a Professional Announcement </li></ul><ul><li>In local bar newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>and newspaper </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  12. 12. Tip #6 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Write articles </li></ul><ul><li>on Consumer Law </li></ul><ul><li>for bar newsletter </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  13. 13. Tip #7 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Give speeches to </li></ul><ul><li>Bar Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>and civic groups </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  14. 14. Tip #8 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Hire a support staffer </li></ul><ul><li>who has the aptitude </li></ul><ul><li>to research people and records </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  15. 15. Tip #9 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Set up your own web site yourself </li></ul><ul><li>And use a catchy name and then blog, blog, blog, blog </li></ul><ul><li>Work Social Networking </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  16. 16. Tip #10 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  17. 17. Tip #11 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Pick an easy-to-find location </li></ul><ul><li>for your new office </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  18. 18. Tip #12 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Set up your office in same Building </li></ul><ul><li>with other attorney offices, </li></ul><ul><li>For referrals and mentoring </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  19. 19. Tip #13 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Pay referral fees in cookies </li></ul><ul><li>to referring attorney’s secretary </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  20. 20. Tip #14 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Write a column </li></ul><ul><li>on Consumer Law </li></ul><ul><li>for local newspaper </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  21. 21. Tip #15 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Limit contingency fee cases </li></ul><ul><li>to ½ your case load </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  22. 22. Tip #16 on Starting a Practice <ul><li>Remember: the best advertising you will ever get is from a happy client. </li></ul><ul><li>Make your client’s case your case … make it personal. </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  23. 23. Bonus Time ! © 2012 RLBurdge
  24. 24. www . The Law Coach . com © 2012 RLBurdge
  25. 25. www . The Law Coach . com © 2012 RLBurdge
  26. 26. www. The Law Coach .com © 2012 RLBurdge
  27. 27. The Practice of Law ? © 2012 RLBurdge
  28. 28. Riches to Rags © 2012 RLBurdge
  29. 29. Riches to Rags <ul><li>The </li></ul><ul><li>King </li></ul><ul><li>of </li></ul><ul><li>Torts </li></ul><ul><li>Melvin Belli </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  30. 30. Rags to Riches © 2012 RLBurdge
  31. 31. Rags to Riches © 2012 RLBurdge
  32. 32. Old Rule <ul><li>$ in </li></ul><ul><li>Bills paid out </li></ul><ul><li>= $ Left Over </li></ul><ul><li>(your profit) </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  33. 33. © 2012 RLBurdge
  34. 34. New Rule <ul><li>It’s a Business </li></ul><ul><li>Run it like one </li></ul><ul><li>The Name of the Game: Profit </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  35. 35. <ul><li>“ What do you mean, my paycheck will be a little late this week?” </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  36. 36. New Rule <ul><li>Be a Lawyer </li></ul><ul><li>Not a Business Manager </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  37. 37. <ul><li>The </li></ul><ul><li>Problem </li></ul><ul><li>Solution? </li></ul>
  38. 38. New Rule <ul><li>Hire a Business Manager </li></ul><ul><li>And Pay them Well </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  39. 39. SCORE.org © 2012 RLBurdge
  40. 40. New Rule <ul><li>Have a Budget </li></ul><ul><li>And Live by it </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  41. 41. Time Management Matters © 2012 RLBurdge
  42. 42. Time Gobblers <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing Priorities </li></ul><ul><li>“ Paper” Shuffling </li></ul><ul><li>Interruptions </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  43. 43. New Rule <ul><li>Have a Budget </li></ul><ul><li>And Live by it </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  44. 44. New Rule <ul><li>Know Your “Break Even” Number </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  45. 45. New Rule <ul><li>Know Your Daily Numbers </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  46. 46. New Rule <ul><li>Recalculate Your Hourly Rate </li></ul><ul><li>Reverse Calculate it </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  47. 47. Know Your Numbers <ul><li>EGN / IGN = Hourly Rate </li></ul><ul><li>Expense Generating Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Divided by </li></ul><ul><li>Income Generating Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>= Hourly Rate </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  48. 48. Expense Generating Numbers <ul><li>Taxes Rent </li></ul><ul><li>Salaries Telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Utilities Debt Retirement </li></ul><ul><li>Supplies Equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Repairs Advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance Insurance </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  49. 49. Income Generating Numbers <ul><li>Total Firm Billable Hours </li></ul><ul><li>Whose hours ? </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  50. 50. Total Firm Billable Hours <ul><li>Attorney </li></ul><ul><li>Paralegal – Law Clerk </li></ul><ul><li>Secretary </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  51. 51. Weight the Rates © 2012 RLBurdge
  52. 52. Weekly Billable Hours © 2012 RLBurdge 70 Total 5 20 .25 Secretary 20 40 .5 Paralegal 45 45 1 Attorney Billable Hours Available Hours Weighted Rate
  53. 53. Reverse Calculating Hourly Rate <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>1 Attorney - $100 k Salary </li></ul><ul><li>1 Paralegal - $42 k Salary </li></ul><ul><li>1 Secretary - $30 k Salary </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  54. 54. Reverse Calculating Hourly Rate <ul><li>Expense Generating Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Divided by </li></ul><ul><li>Income Generating Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>= Hourly Rate </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  55. 55. Expense Generating Numbers <ul><li>Taxes Rent </li></ul><ul><li>Salaries Telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Utilities Debt Retirement </li></ul><ul><li>Supplies Equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Repairs Advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance Insurance </li></ul><ul><li>= $7,000 </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  56. 56. Reverse Calculating Hourly Rate <ul><li>$7,000 + 15% = $8,050 (EGN) </li></ul><ul><li>Divided by </li></ul><ul><li>70 – 15% = 59.5 hours (IGN) </li></ul><ul><li>= $ 135.29 Hourly Rate </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  57. 57. New Rule <ul><li>It’s a Business </li></ul><ul><li>Run it like one </li></ul><ul><li>The Name of the Game: Profit </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  58. 58. New Rule <ul><li>The Cost of Losing Billable Time: </li></ul><ul><li>15 min/day = 1.25 Hr/wk </li></ul><ul><li>= 65 Hr/yr </li></ul><ul><li>65 Hr x $150 ………... = $9,750 </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  59. 59. Bonus Time ! © 2012 RLBurdge
  60. 60. Top 3 New Rules <ul><li>To Really Succeed </li></ul><ul><li>1. Be a Lawyer, not a Manager </li></ul><ul><li>2. Know Your Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>3. Give it Back </li></ul>© 2012 RLBurdge
  61. 61. Business Helpers © 2012 RLBurdge
  62. 62. You have to Do Well If You want to Do Good Houston 2012 Ronald L. Burdge The Law Coach .com © 2012 RLBurdge

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