By: LISA R. WILSON

We are in a tough economy, no doubt about that. Businesses across the board are doing what they can to generate profit; including lowering rates to stay above the red line and keep up with the competition. But how does this bargain-basement marketing relate to running a law practice?

There will always be law firms that stay successful due to that extra something, such as more effective marketing, and running their office like a well-oiled machine. However, offering rates that are far lower than your competitors is not only a bad way to generate the business you want; it is a good way to raise flags about your professional status and legal capabilities.

Just because it is a competitive economy, offering the lowest price doesn’t always win— especially when it comes to hiring a lawyer. When a client is faced with a significant life situation, such as being sued, arrested, needing to declare bankruptcy, or file for divorce, the quality and skill of an attorney is the most important factor—and quality comes with a price. If an attorney offers cut-rate services, a client is likely to think they will receive cut-rate treatment, and trust is already compromised from the start—if the attorney is even hired.

It has been said before, but it bears repeating: you get what you pay for. To attract big business and command the fee that you are worth, you must back the worth of your fee. You can always lower your price to fit your client’s needs, or the specific case at hand, but don’t run your practice as if you are on sale. Charge what you are worth, and establish a fee befitting to your skills and expertise. The quality of your business, and that of your client base, will reflect this.

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