First Attorney-Client: Engagement Prep
This week is all about getting closer to the engagement letter and completing the file review. Back in the first post, I mentioned that you should charge for this service. In the second post, I talked about how you don't want to forget anything or forget to look at an area that may give you some concern and may mean that you need to make corrections. These specific areas are the chart of accounts, review the balance sheet, check the profit and loss. That's pretty much the high level of what the details were in last week's post.
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To access this series from the beginning, here are links to the first one, here, where we discussed the initial client conversation. You meet our potential lead, George Smith and the initial questions to ask him to learn about his business and find his pain points.
In the second post, which dives into how you can look into figuring out what's wrong with the client's file as you give it that cursory review, seeing where they left off and if it's reconciled, and giving it a general overview.
So where do you go from there? How do you produce a professional-looking file review? There are a few more clarifying questions and some pretty neat apps to rock the proposal!
STEP 1 - More Questions:
STEP 2 - Ask for the supporting documents:
STEP 3 - What outside software:
STEP 4 - How many matters?
Next, you want to observe how the clients in matters are listed. Are they listed clients and matter as a sub-level? Or do they stay at the highest level with just clients? Clients/Matters is where you want to review their accounts receivable deeply. Check out that undeposited funds account too. Do they have much open AR?
STEP 5 - Deep review to be sure nothing is missed:
STEP 6 - How ugly is the COA:
STEP 7 - When was the last reconciliation:
STEP 8 - Payroll:
STEP 9 - Assets:
If you follow all of those sections above, you will be in good shape to have done a complete review for your client. We have created the document to show an overview, a question section, any discovery notes, and then our recommendations. It lays out all of the data that you extract from the file review in an orderly format for your client.
Give the Client a Timeline
The last step in this process is to give the client a timeline for when the work will be completed and perhaps even layout exactly how the work will be done. We have a couple of timeline templates that we've created, and a Lucid Chart document that helps show in a beautiful graphic all the steps that the client will see if they hire you. It just presents a professional form back to the client.
Make it Impressive
You want to take time to make these documents look impressive. The document look is your one chance to ensure that your prospective client is blown away by your work. Presentation is where you want to show that you are worth what you're going to charge, and then they will also realize that you won't be the cheapest around, but you'll provide the best service. I love my CRM, 17hats for this. Not only do you create that initial contact point with a questionnaire, but also follow the lead through the journey to engagement letter, that they can e-sign.
Once your presentation is ready, we contact the client and review the whole project in a Zoom meeting.
Next week will get into how to price the job. I'll dive into a few of the methods around what you can do when pricing out this kind of work. The monthly work is usually pretty easy to price; it's the messy files and clean-up work that can take much time and effort. But we're not going to put together a package about ours. We're going to give the client a fixed price.