Lawyers face incredibly long wait times when it comes to getting paid—three months on average. On top of that, many lawyers wait for up to two months before billing for their time in the first place. All in all, lawyers can wait nearly six months before getting paid for their work, which can create serious cash flow problems for any firm.
Accepting online payment via credit card is a simple way to address this problem. Case in point: According to Clio’s Legal Trends Report, law firms using Clio Payments got paid 35 percent faster than firms using check-based payments.
Still, many law firms have yet to make the switch. Nearly 85 percent of solos and small firms haven’t set themselves up to accept online payments. In other words, they still spend valuable time re-sending invoices and tracking down payments when their clients could be paying them much faster online.
Certainly, venturing into the realm of online payments can seem daunting. The potential for ethics violations and computational errors has no doubt scared a few lawyers off.
But the numbers don’t lie: Accepting online payments will help you get paid more quickly. And with the right tools, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Here’s the easiest way to do it:
First, use a Legal-Specific Credit Card Processor
Legal-specific credit card processors ensure compliance with ethics rules for lawyers when it comes to accepting credit card payments, so you never have to worry about potential violations.
Lawyers must consider the potential for credit card companies to issue chargebacks on trust accounts. For example, if a client disputes a charge deposited in a trust account, the credit card company may withdraw funds from a pooled trust account. But if the lawyer has already withdrawn those funds from the trust account as payment, the credit card company ends up withdrawing funds that belong to other clients. This amounts to an ethics violation.
The solution here is to use a legal-specific credit card processor. Such companies use three bank accounts—an operating account, a trust account, and a processing account where funds for chargebacks can be held apart from pooled trust funds.
Then, Streamline the Process Even Further With Clio Payments
If you’re already using a legal-specific credit card processor like LawPay, you’re halfway there. But if you haven’t synced it up with Clio Payments, you’re still spending more time than needed on a non-billable task.
There are a number of legal-specific credit card processors to choose from, but LawPay stands out due to the fact that it powers Clio Payments—allowing users to process secure credit card payments directly within Clio (for Elite and Boutique users only).
Just watch how easy it is to get paid:
You can set up Clio Payments whether you already have a LawPay account or not, but either way, Clio takes care of the standard $20 per month LawPay fee.
We shouldn’t have to say more, but we will.
Clio payments is a cheaper way to get paid, plain and simple. There is no monthly fee, and rates per transaction are low:
- 1.95 percent plus 20 cents per transaction for most credit cards
- 2.95 percent plus 20 cents per transaction for various specialty credit cards
Finally, keep in mind that manually switching between Clio and LawPay (or any credit card processor, for that matter) can leave room for human error. Clio Payments eliminates that issue by keeping your billing and collections in one place, even when it comes to trust accounting. Use Clio’s Trust Requests feature to request trust payments from your client via email or Clio Connect, then accept online credit card payments and let Clio deposit them into your trust account.
If you’re billing clients and accepting payments using any other method, we’d urge you to try Clio Payments. Just once. It’s seriously the easiest way to get paid, and we bet you’ll be hooked.