Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Are Your Rates High Enough?

If prospects never turn you down because of your rates -- you may not be charging enough. Rates are often an indication of value in the eyes of your prospects, so low rates are not necessarily a competitive advantage or the best way to engage more clients.

When questioned about your fees by prospective clients or even opposing counsel in the courtroom, be poised and unapologetic about your income. You have paid your dues in your profession. If you are new to expert consultant work, I personally assure you that you will earn every dollar you are paid in the legal arena. Litigation support is always stimulating and challenging, occasionally inspiring, and potentially lucrative. It can also be stressful and perplexing and make you wonder whether justice can ever really be accomplished. Take pride in the fact that you are contributing to that goal and charge for your efforts.


joe hochreiter said...

One should remember that the hourly rate that your firm charges for your time on the stand (and in prep) is NOT the rate that you personally receive. Don't get trapped into implying that you actually receive that hourly rate. There is roughly 2.3 x base salary of company overhead that is built into that rate to cover legitimate business expenses - not your salary.

Rosalie Hamilton said...

You're right, Joe. When I wrote about fee setting in "The Expert Witness Marketing Book," I suggested multiplying your former (usually corporate job) hourly value by a factor of 3.0, to cover overhead expenses, benefits customarily paid by an employer such as insurance premiums and the employer's part of Social Security, vacation, holidays, sick leave, etc. Now I recommend a factor of 4.0. As to cross-examination about your fees, you said it correctly, "My firm bills my time at X$."