The way an attorney would go about arguing a case in 2020 is vastly different than it would have been 10 years ago. Similarly, it seems counterintuitive when law firms take an outdated approach to other aspects of supplying legal services—specifically billing and payments. Taking a closer look at the monetary and logistical aspects of hiring legal counsel reveals the standard process of establishing and maintaining a client-attorney relationship is a little dated.
This is particularly obvious when you consider the following:
- 29% of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings account.
- Nearly 30% of Americans do not use cash during a typical week.
- Between 2007 and 2017, the use of paper checks for payments decreased by nearly 40%.
- 40% of individuals who are in need of legal assistance would not consider hiring a lawyer who didn’t take credit or debit cards.
Updating your payment process isn’t a giant undertaking; in fact, it’s a lot easier than you may think. Here are the stories of five law firms that used modern online payments to elevate the client experience in their practices.
Fraser, Wilson & Bryan, P.C.
Founded in 2004 in Stephenville, Texas, Fraser, Wilson & Bryan, P.C. is a full-service firm specializing in civil litigation, family law, and transactional law. Their firm is focused on serving residents and businesses located in Stephenville and its surrounding counties.
“Our firm has deep ties to Stephenville,” said Kimberly Pack Wilson, founding partner at Fraser, Wilson & Bryan, P.C. “I was raised here. Amy Bryan and I went to Tarleton State University. It’s where we call home, and we want to make our home a better place.”
Prior to LawPay, Fraser, Wilson & Bryan was using a payment solution that just wasn’t meeting their specific needs as a law firm. Kim Wilson found that LawPay has made her firm’s daily operations simpler and more efficient. Their clients are able to pay much faster than if they used traditional methods. “Paying through LawPay is convenient for our clients,” says Wilson.
“They don’t have to wait until we’re open or stop by the office. They just go online and make their payment.” Since making the switch, more and more of Fraser, Wilson & Bryan’s clients have been making payments through LawPay. “About 40% of our payments are done online or over the phone through LawPay,” Kim Wilson noted.
Fraser, Wilson, & Bryan couldn’t be happier that they discovered LawPay so many years ago. As Kim Wilson describes it, “LawPay helps us deliver customer service that exceeds their expectations. That’s what I need from legal technology—to make me look like a rockstar and a modern law firm. LawPay does that.”
Nayar & McIntyre, LLP
Nayar & McIntyre, LLP is a small, boutique immigration law firm that primarily handles family-based and naturalization cases, humanitarian relief, and deportation defense. They are dedicated to providing competent, compassionate, and affordable legal representation to immigrants and their families.
Firm partners Lakshmi Nayar and Maria McIntyre know for many immigrants, the U.S. immigration experience is daunting, overwhelming, and, unfortunately, distressing. The firm’s goal is to relieve that burden and navigate the complicated immigration maze on behalf of their clients to protect their rights and secure their legal immigration status in the United States.
Both partners have personal ties to immigration law. Nayar is a first-generation immigrant, and McIntyre’s mother immigrated to the U.S. in 1970. The firm shares a personal passion for immigration law, as it is about keeping families together and giving someone the ability to work towards the American Dream.
The firm is small by design, as they want to know their clients by name and not by case number. Nayar and McIntyre say the biggest compliment they can get from clients is a referral, but it warms their hearts when they get invitations to their clients’ weddings, baby showers, quinceañeras, and other special events.
Having started the practice in 2009, Nayar & McIntyre has always been reliant on an online presence. When they signed on with LawPay, the firm’s clients embraced the ability to make online payments. According to the firm, that is, by far, the #1 way their clients make monthly payments. Nayar & McIntyre did not accept credit cards before LawPay. Since joining LawPay, their clientele has nearly doubled.
The Law Office of Stephen P. Shepard
The Law Office of Stephen P. Shepard, LLC was founded on the idea that the way attorneys practice law in the state of Maryland needs to change for the better. The firm aims to provide its clients with one thing: superior representation based on four core values. Those core values are to provide: affordable representation, client-centered representation, collaborative advocacy, and comprehensive service.
“Since early childhood, I have always had a ‘soft side’ for the so-called underdog in a fight,” says Stephen Shepard. “When you are charged with a crime, it is the State of Maryland vs. You—that can be pretty intimidating! I wanted to be the one who stands up for the underdog.”
Part of Shepard’s commitment to his clients is being as accommodating as possible and doing everything he can to make their lives easier. LawPay supports his efforts to minimize the stress in his clients’ lives by simplifying the payment process. LawPay allows the firm to accept credit cards which helps them cater to those folks who prefer not to pay with cash or a check. Thus, LawPay improves the firm’s customer service in a way that is consistent with their core values.
With LawPay, they can easily accept credit card payments from clients on the computer, on an iPhone, or on an iPad. Shepard appreciates the ability to collect a client’s signature digitally and that LawPay emails a receipt to the firm which can instantly and easily be given to the client. In Shepard’s opinion, “LawPay truly is the gold standard for credit card processing for attorneys.”
The Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp P.C.
As a child, Shawn B. Hamp always watched Perry Mason with his parents. In middle school, his interest in becoming a trial lawyer grew and he competed in mock trial competitions. From there, he went on to receive his bachelor’s degree and J.D. from the University of Arizona. In 2007, after realizing he enjoyed practicing criminal law and trial litigation and following encouragement from another former prosecutor, he pursued his vision of starting his own private practice.
Hamp has always stayed current with the latest technology since he started the practice, which is why the entire firm is cloud-based. Moving the firm’s client management and document management to the cloud allows Hamp to have the information he needs to represent his clients whether he’s in the office or on the go.
Technology also allows Hamp to stay in constant communication with his clients. The firm’s online case management software keeps clients in the loop about the goings-on of their case and lets them contact the firm privately and securely when they need help and want to know what’s next.
With so much of his practice already relying on technology, it didn’t make sense for Hamp to use an outdated payment system. LawPay has made it extremely easy and convenient for the firm to process payments from clients. Clients can pay online or via email with the convenient online link and portal, which is particularly helpful when working with clients who are out of state. The recurring payment feature also helps clients finance their legal fees.
“If you are going to run a consumer-driven practice,” says Hamp, “you need credit card processing.”
Massachusetts-based Turco Legal is proud to call itself a family-focused firm. Everyone at the firm is 100% committed to their clients, putting their personal time aside to make sure that their clients’ needs and concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
Damian J. Turco originally chose family law because he believes it’s a great area of law in which to start your career. “Many families don’t have the finances to hire a high-profile divorce lawyer,” says Turco. “So it’s a good way for lesser experienced lawyers to enter the legal field and start working while providing invaluable help to individuals and families who desperately need it.”
The firm never wants clients to feel like they can’t get the help or information that they need. Consequently, Turco freely gives clients his cell phone number. He wants them to know that he’s always there for them. “I can talk to my clients, calm them down, and let them know that their concerns will be taken care of,” says Turco. “It really helps to build an incredible amount of goodwill and trust.”
His dedication to reducing his clients’ stress extends to all areas of the firm—including payments. “LawPay is extremely convenient, both for me and for my clients,” says Turco. “I can email my clients a link to a secure payments page or I can even text them the link if their payments are late or if their retainer is running low. It makes the likelihood of getting paid so much higher because clients don’t have to take out money or find their checkbook. I can keep their credit card on file and they can pay for my services with just the click of a button.”
About the Author
Bryan Lieber is brand manager for LawPay.