How iQualify changed retainer financing forever with Fortify 4 years ago

We came to solve a specific problem and wound up changing the industry.

Imagine being a wheat farmer in 1835, when Hiram Moore patented the first combine harvester, which was capable of reaping, threshing, and winnowing grain. Up to that point, the cost and effort to keep up a wheat field was significant, but manageable for a family. But with a combine, what used to take 80 hours of work each week could be completed in 20, at a fraction of the cost, with better results – all without the health concerns associated with doing the work.

Solving the collections problem changed the wheat industry forever.

The legal industry is going through something similar. To attract and sign more clients, most attorneys offer some kind of payment plan. This leaves it up to them to collect their own harvest – working their cases manually over a long period of time.

In 2016 Jason Brown and Josh Utesch sat down with some attorneys to help them solve this problem for their firms. That solution would ultimately lead to the creation of Fortify, which allows attorneys to offer a client every option to hire them, upfront, then manages those payment plans – collecting up to 93 cents on the dollar for the cases. 

“The verdict is in on iQualify. I’ve used it for 6 months and my current ROI is already over 800%!” — Regina Edwards, a divorce attorney in Gwinnett County, Ga. 

Attorneys don’t want to put clients on payment plans, but clients need options that fit their budget. They’re looking for an affordable way to hire an affordable expert to win their case. This problem is so universal that 66% of clients leave their first meeting without a clear understanding of how to pay the attorney for their case moving forward. As a result, the first attorneys often become the baseline for the client to shop around and find a better price. But if the client specifically says “I can’t afford that, can you work something out?”, then the attorney only has one option – offer a  payment plan. The client is looking for the lowest payment and/or to spread payments out over a set amount of time. As a result, your firm becomes the bank – and that’s bad news for attorneys managing their own retainer plans. 

Jason Brown and Josh Utesch began iQualify Lending with a mind for finance, but a heart for legal and the belief in what can happen when those two things meet. “Turns out”, Jason says, “attorneys have never had options like this before. We realized most of them are putting clients on payment plans and, to no one’s surprise, they’re not very good at collecting. It’s hard being counselor and collection agent to the same client. But those same attorneys using our retainer financing tools with Fortify are enjoying up to a 30% raise, for the exact same clients.” 

With a product as unique as Fortify, other legal retainer financiers are hoping you will assume cost is the only difference between them and iQualify. But retainer financing alone won’t solve the problem – not even close. There is no other program out there that will make it easier to get hired, get paid, and get out of the collections business, once and for all. Think about that for a second. We help you convert more potential clients, get you paid, and take you out of the collections business once and for all. What are you waiting for?

Counsel & Counseling: Attorneys and Mental Health 4 years ago

During this fraught time, there is another epidemic no one is talking about. 

“Being a lawyer is about solving people’s problems: being arrested, getting a divorce, having a business dispute, and so on. We make our clients’ problems into our problems. Add in the worry of being a bill collector and managing an office, and the stress can be crushing. A lawyer with a substance abuse problem or depression may be legally required to report such an illness to their state bar or other lawyer regulatory agencies. This deters lawyers from seeking help and instead they deal with their problems privately, if at all. It’s why I sadly know numerous attorneys who have committed suicide in the past 11 years of my practice.”

—Eric J. Trabin, founder of the Trabin Law Firm, a criminal defense and family law firm in Maitland, Florida. 

You learned a lot in law school, but nothing prepared you for the realities of running your law practice as a sustainable business: hiring, firing, bills, training, taxes, advertising, chasing clients, case follow-up, early-morning court, late-evening catch-up sessions, working weekends, and more fast food than anyone should ever be forced to eat. Every day your job is to manage and deal with the most stressful situation in someone’s life. That takes a toll. 

A recent survey by reported that about 41% of respondents said mental health problems and substance abuse are at a crisis level in the legal industry, while about 34% said they don’t know and 25% said no. More than half of respondents, 56%, said mental health problems and substance abuse are worse in the legal industry than in other industries. Many attorneys are suffering from increased stress and anxiety, and yet no one in our industry feels like they can talk about it. Since iQualify is in the de-stressing business, we see and hear these stories from the front lines all the time. And you know what causes a lot of stress? You guessed it: money.

So much of our stress is tied up in finances. 

As attorneys, we deal with hundreds of small problems every day. Every problem is like adding a tiny stone to your satchel. Not much by itself, but over time – it increases the stress of the load. It means you have to do extra work, with the stress of a heavy load, and it never stops. 50-60-70 hour weeks. All just to barely stay above water and keep the lights on. And at the end of the day, the extra work feels like running on a hamster wheel if you’re also short on money.

Can we be honest for a moment? You can handle the work. You can sign new clients. But chasing clients for money? -that could be the biggest of all your stressors. Your heart races, you avoid it until the last minute, and if you’re lucky you pass the problem off to Carol at the front desk (she’s not great at collecting either, but at least it relieves some pressure). You are their counsel, but you can’t do that if you’re the collection agent

The best thing you can do for a client is a have the freedom to fully represent their best interest in the case. You are called counsel for a reason. And iQualify Lending helps you start putting the counsel back in counselor. With Fortify by iQualify, we’re helping alleviate significant stress and extra work by solving the financial solution for most attorneys. It’s not just retainer financing. It’s a whole new way of life If you are looking for a solution – call us today at 404-369-3112.

Feeling like you’re depressed or overwhelmed by stress? There are several ways to get help, yes, even for attorneys. Start with talking to someone and take away the stigma associated with mental health struggles. If you’re looking to speak with a mental health professional, this link can help.