Feed Yourself First This Holiday 11 months ago

You’ve heard the adage about “teaching a man to fish”, or the one about helping plant the corn, or the fruit-bearing tree — well, you can insert your favorite food/work metaphor here since it is the holiday season. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, what better time to challenge you, our attorney friend, to really think about the fruit your tree is bearing. Is there enough to sustain your practice? Does it bear enough to feed your family? Your community? 

 

Taking care of yourself first is not a selfish way to live. It is only through being the planter, someone who recognizes the important stages and cycles of preparation, growth, and harvest, that you can reap enough bounty to take care of your loved ones and community. The same is true with your business today, and especially law. Your relationship with clients, especially the explanation of payment, needs to be taken in steps in order to operate successfully. iQualify’s payment management software takes the most important steps for you. Start using it and get back time and money you might not have realized you were losing. Within 30 days, you’ll be saying “yes” to more clients and start seeing the benefits of your well-laid plans with iQualify. 

What are you talking about and how does it relate to my law practice?

Just as there are no instant-harvests, there are no get-rich-quick schemes. Did you know it takes an average child until 12 to have an intermediate mastery of the English language? Just like having the alphabet down in middle school doesn’t make you Shakespeare, simply being a lawyer doesn’t make you rich. Everything has to grow and be nurtured, including your law practice and your relationships with your clients. iQualify, powered by Fortify, does exactly that. Our client payment management system builds a structure of financial stability into your practice. It doesn’t happen overnight, but rather the changes iQualify brings to your business frees up time and is the key to unlocking the next stage in your law practice. 

 

Doing things in stages helps deliver clarity. Think about Thanksgiving: you have to set the table, cook the food, get the house ready, plate the food…all in stages. You don’t just throw the turkey down on the table before it’s ready. Achieving financial stability for your law practice with iQualify is also a process in stages: 

 

  • Stage 1: you sign up and get the Fortify software
  • Stage 2: getting clients signed up, stress melts away
  • Stage 3: financial stability feeds the office, your family, and community

 

How do we invest in the community and ourselves after that? Planning to support a future we didn’t know we were going to have is difficult. But once you’ve taken the steps to simplify and streamline the collection and payment side of your practice, you’ll find so many more opportunities opening up. You could give your newfound free time to Big Brothers or Sisters, or volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter. You can make larger donations to your favorite nonprofit or a charity close to your heart. Find some way you’d love to help your community, and, once financially solvent yourself, give back! It’s the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the holidays.

 

Give iQualify a real close look this holiday and sign up so you can start reaping/harvesting/feeding your law practice sufficiently in 2020. Insert your own food/work metaphor here. 

 

Happy Holidays from iQualify! 

TIRED ATTORNEYS MAKE BAD DECISIONS 12 months ago

Poor choices in finance and billing possibly blamed on lack of sleep…

Aren’t you exhausted? You work a lot of hours as an attorney, with the ABA claiming the average is 60-80 hrs/week. That means early mornings, late nights, lunches at your desk, missing that soccer game, or pushing off the family vacation for another couple of months. It also means there’s never enough sleep and you find yourself feeling tired all the time.

Before you know it, your life is stolen from you by a million little things, not the least of which is your debt load. The costs of not getting paid back for your attorney fees are staggering. When you factor in labor, billing, and reconciliation, you could be making as little as 55 cents on the dollar!

You know what else will keep you up at night and cause you exhaustion? Earning 55 cents on the dollar.

Chasing down clients and/or making collection calls to get them to pay is draining your energy and your bank account. Not to mention you’re probably also dropping clients because of non- payment, which is causing you to lose even more money. The average lawyer worked just 2.5 hours of billable work each day in 2018! (2018 Legal Trends Report, pg. 49)

Stressors like these can lead to clouded judgment and poor choices made… such as the way you’re going about trying to collect your retainer fees. The smartest attorneys (or maybe we should say the most well-rested) are fixing both their financial and stress problems thanks to innovative programs like legal retainer financing.

Legal fee financing takes the work and headache of collecting your clients’ payments off your shoulders and lets you start making more money, almost immediately. You’ve worked hard to build your practice. And with iQualify Lending, you can get rid of the stress of chasing payments and get back to doing what you love – practicing law

Want to see how it works? Reach out to us right now and see for yourself how iQualify Lending can relieve your stress, make more money, and get more sleep.

The Tale of 2 Attorneys 3 years ago

Mark and John are 2 very well known criminal defense attorneys. They both enjoy the respect of their peers, have seemingly thriving practices, and get most of their clients from referrals. They were both referred to me by a new attorney who had just started offering our product. Appointments were made. Both showed up.

The rest is a story of 2 very different roads.

Before we get too far, let me explain something. My company helps finance legal cases – specifically retainer fees. So our sole goal is to help attorneys make more money from the potential clients they attract. Then we pay the Attorney in full, upfront, and take all the risk.

In 2 years we have never lost an attorney. In fact, we have helped many attorneys enjoy the most profit their practice has ever seen. Mark and John both wanted to sign up.

Mark was a gruff attorney, who got directly to the point. “What’s this going to cost me?”

I encouraged him to consider the costs of not offering financing. I spent time explaining the costs of offering in-house payments and collecting 60% of your case fee. I explained the cost of his $240,000 debt load. I explained the cost of losing clients due to cost.

When it was all said and done, I showed him that if we can just approve 1 in 5 clients for a loan, he could be debt free within 24 months. He could afford a paralegal, which he desperately needed. He could free up money for marketing – all from the profits we helped him create.  In the end, Mark decided not to move forward due to cost.

John was quite the opposite. He was direct but open. His first question was, “How can legal retainer financing help me, specifically?”

We went through a similar discussion about debt, losing clients to cost, chasing money clients owed him, and dropping more cases than he closed. John immediately saw an opportunity to fix these problems and said yes.

Last week, I saw a meeting request pop up on my calendar. It was Mark. I hadn’t heard from him in over 18 months. When I called him, the first words out of his mouth were, “ok how do I get signed up?”

“What changed your mind”, I asked?

His response was “I ran into John last week at the courthouse. He is having the best year of his life. He has hired more staff. He just hired another attorney. He took a vacation this year to Aruba.  He told me it all started with offering your financing product.”

We squared away the details and Mark signed up. By his 3rd month, Mark had made an additional $38,000.  All I could think about was that if he had signed up 18 months ago he could have potentially made $240,000.

If you can relate to this story and would like to grow your practice, sign up below and let us show you how legal fee financing can help turn your existing clients into immediate cash flow with no risk.

Interview With The President of iQualify Lending 3 years ago

Interview With Richard Jacobs of Speakeasy Marketing About Legal Retainer Loan Financing

Below is an interview with Jason Brown, President of iQualify Lending and Richard Jacobs, President of SpeakEasy Marketing. Although some of the content has changed, the heart of the matter still stands. Financing is an incredible way to bolster your business. It allows you to make more money from your existing clients. And after almost 2 years, we have helped hundreds of Attorneys receive millions of dollars in offers to finance their cases.

Enjoy!

Richard Jacobs: This is Richard Jacobs with Speakeasy Marketing. Today, I’m with Jason Brown of iQualify Lending. The point is if you are an attorney and you have clients that are not hiring you because they cannot afford your fee or the amount of money you charge and it is just too much for them to pay and they are going to your competitors or they are not hiring you, then you want to listen to this because Jason’s company has the financing solution. I have talked with people like him before but Jason is the only one in recent years that is actually doing it and is living up to his word. He has some great financing that you can get for your customers. It looks like 36 or more months of payment terms and is going to help you retain far more clients and not lose them to competitors and low-ballers. . Jason, how are you doing?

Jason Brown: I’m better than most, Sir. Thank you for having me today.

Richard Jacobs: All right, great. Thanks for being here. So I want to make sure I didn’t miscommunicate or I communicate everything clearly enough. Tell me your short bio of your background and about I Qualify Lending.

Jason Brown: I have been a top financial professional entrepreneur and consultant in this industry almost my entire life. For 10 years, I have heard people talking about wanting to put something like this together but never doing it. We launched it and iQualify Lending was launched as a way to offer consumer lending products into industries like criminal defense that currently do not offer financial products.

Richard Jacobs: All right. So tell me a typical scenario for a loan. What would be the amount, the interest rate, the payments, what’s the ballpark sketch of a typical loan?

Jason Brown: You should understand that legal loans are still something that are taking shape in this industry. We have opened up the parameters and the flood gates pretty wide to really try and get a broad spectrum of who these clients are in the market and their likelihoods to repay against the standard consumer lending company. Our rates mimic credit card rates as we are governed by the same usury laws. Due to the size of the loans and our desire to offer low monthly payments, we did some things that were really unique.

We extended our financing terms to up to 5 years and we offer loans with no money down and as an example, a payment of a $4,000 loan could be as little as $120 to the month for your client. We are really happy with what we have come up with; we go down to a 560 credit score so we are being pretty liberal but understand, it’s still a financial product. It’s not going to work for people who don’t have credit, who don’t have a job and who don’t have the ability to repay.

Richard Jacobs: Those same people wouldn’t be able to pay an attorney. So if an attorney takes on someone like that, they’re just asking for payments to stop and attorneys in many criminal cases I know and other cases, that judge won’t let them withdraw, so they’re stuck representing the person even if that person stops paying. So this would be a good way to make sure that they don’t get into a situation that they’re going to be wasting their money and time right off the bat. Lending has gotten tight for everybody since 2008, so how hard is it to qualify for the loans? You mentioned some parameters quickly but tell me how hard is it to qualify for a loan if I’m a client?

Jason Brown: We have tried to be as lenient as we can. We have gone down to a 560 credit score, the industry standard is closer to 700. We also take into consideration income, debt, credit, negative items into the account, and debt to income ratio. You are still going to have a client that can be qualified but the option here is that we are trying to make it easy for those who do have a job. One of the genesis for launching this was a good friend of mine who is a single father with 3 children.

He makes $70,000 a year and pays child support. He got a DUI celebrating a friend of ours’ 40th birthday and he didn’t have $5,000 to pay an attorney. He is a licensed professional so it’s going to be $5,000 just to start but he is the kind of guy who has the ability to repay this loan. He has the money and he can afford it. He just did not have money laying around that wasn’t allocated to something else. That is a perfect customer for us and it is the kind of customer that you want telling their friends that you offer financing because that is really going to grow your customer base for the right kind of client.

Richard Jacobs: Literally, how does someone apply? Do they have to fill out papers, do they go on the internet, does the attorney has to sit there with them and do the application? How does someone do it?

Jason Brown: I designed this process with the attorney and the client in mind, not with us. So it’s very simple. They can apply from any device connected to the internet. It takes about 2 minutes and it’s a half page application. The beauty of it is that we don’t pull credit; it’s a soft pull so you can literally try financing for any applicant and it won’t affect their credit. Once they have applied, they will get an instant response from us with an approval or denial. If they are approved, you literally can pick your payments right there on the spot and there is no paperwork, there are no phone calls.

We don’t involve the attorney in any way, shape or form in that process, and then we provide the attorney with an online dashboard so that they can track all of their applications, who’s approved, who’s denied, where they’re on the process, and ultimately we fund the attorney directly, the customer never sees the information so they can’t pay those funds and go hire another attorney. If they are approved with you, they are only approved for financing with your firm.

Richard Jacobs: So even an initial phone call and someone’s calling to do an initial consult on the phone, the attorney can say to them right then and there “I might be able to get you qualified for financing. Let’s do that right now”, and before that phone call even ends, the person will know if they are qualified with that particular attorney, is that right?

Jason Brown: Yes, it’s instantaneous. We give the attorneys web banners that the clients can click on and it does happen. We have instances where attorneys say, “I had a client, go online and get approved for financing for $4,500 and then call me the next morning and say, ‘I got approved for $4,500.’ After a conversation they had with an attorney, they went home, applied online at night by themselves and the attorney had a new client that they thought they had lost.

Richard Jacobs: So what are the fees involved in offering this financing to the attorney or to the person — to the attorney, how much are they going to net out of the transaction?

Jason Brown: So for a $3,000 fee, the attorney would receive $3,000 directly from the client upfront. Most attorneys find that this allows them to raise their prices overtime resulting in higher revenues despite the fee because the clients aren’t buying fees; they’re buying payments at this point in time. We know every dollar counts to the attorney. In our industry, it’s pretty common to charge 15%-20% in fees to take the risk of financing your clients but understanding the industry, I specifically built a small fee platform. Our standard fees are 5.99% of the loan value.

 

Richard Jacobs: Yes, I bet you there’s not an attorney that you’ll speak to that won’t say they’re being driven crazy by low-ballers in their metro, people that are saying $1,500 for a DUI, start your case with $500 and that kind of thing, so this would be a great countermeasure.

Jason Brown: Yes, I agree completely. I have attorneys that are making $30,000 or $40,000 a month in extra income because they offer financing. They are charging full fees and getting paid in advance. You don’t need to discount your fees when you have the most competitive payment on the market.

Richard Jacobs: Okay. So once the borrower is approved, how long does it take for that whole retainer fee to get paid to the attorney?

Jason Brown: It’s within 24 to 72 hours. Once a client is approved, our customer service team will reach out to your client and verify their identity. As long as everything is in line, they can prove they are who they say they are, the money is released, within 24 hours. If they have recently moved and there is some further verification, it could take up to 72 hours.

Richard Jacobs: Okay. What happens if the borrower, the attorney’s client, they stop making payments while the attorney is representing them? Who is going to pursue the person to the payments?

Jason Brown: We have our own in-house customer service and collections team. We knew we had to build this program with a no recourse clause built in. I know attorneys that are listening to this call are going to love that is there is no recourse to them, the attorneys. They are paid in full upfront and if the buyer or the client never pays us a dime, no worries to you. If we have approved the loan, you are off-the-hook completely and we will work with the client to come to payment terms and collect money over time.

Richard Jacobs: All right, that’s great. Tell me some case studies. What kind of attorneys are using this, what’s been their experience with it?

Jason Brown: We are a relatively young division of the arm of this $4 billion hedge fund that we are a part of. But we have found is there are two different types of attorneys. There are attorneys who tell every client that walks in their door, every potential client that calls on the phone that’s looking for representation because I know that attorneys don’t like to quote cost on the phone because they don’t want to scare a client away. But if they say, “I can handle your case for a payment as low as $142 a month, let’s schedule an appointment”, the clients really respond to that and they tell their friends. I tell attorneys to consider the mouthpiece that they want spreading the message that they have financing.

People with jobs, people with incomes, stable customers are the people that we really want to promote and the attorneys that are doing that are seeing significant growth. I have heard numbers 38, 42, 27 percent growth just by offering financial product. I have guys that are making $50,000 and $60,000 a month in additional income because of this product. Now to put the caveat in there, if you are going to use this product as a way to find money for people who don’t have jobs and don’t have incomes and don’t have options, I am the wrong choice. We are offering financial loans.

Richard Jacobs: Yes. And again, if an attorney takes on such a poorly qualified person like that that they’re not going to make a good client regardless. They’re going to complain more and I know the attorneys know this. The clients that have no money, truly if you take them, they’re nightmares. So I am sure they understand that.

Jason Brown: Sure, absolutely.

Richard Jacobs: All right. So, for attorneys that are interested to get started, how much is the cost to start and is there a monthly payment due on the accounts and do you have minimum amounts of business you have to write to stay in the program?

Jason Brown: Now that we have proof of concept behind us, we charge a fee of $2,499 to get set up and a $299 per month technology fee for the rights to the dashboard and things like the ongoing customer service. We give you web banners that you can put on your landing page. We are offering, through this webinar, to reduce that fee down to $1,499 to get set up because we understand that the types of attorneys that are listening to this call are probably the types of attorneys that we want to partner with.

They have had practices for a long time and get a lot of clients that come through the door. Higher traffic firms that are looking for alternative financial options to make their customers’ lives easier. Our top attorneys are running 15 to 30 financed deals a month through our system; our mid-range attorneys are running between 8 and 12. We also have other people that are just showing up in the system and are trying to learn how to use it but there is no minimum. This product is designed to help you make money. If you fund one loan or you fund hundred loans a month, it’s irrelevant to us.

Richard Jacobs: All right, great. So for listeners and people on my list, you’re going to be offering a $1,000 off the starting fee, $2,499 down to $1,499. That’s great, okay. Well, I appreciate that very much.

Jason Brown: Sure, absolutely.

Richard Jacobs: Okay. So, what you talked about criminal DUI, what practice areas are you funding; any others you’re considering funding or have a little bit different terms? I work with DUI, criminal defense, family law, immigration, real estate, injury, bankruptcy and disability and those kinds of people. What areas will you finance, which ones you can’t?

Jason Brown: We can lend on almost every type of legal case out there. Everything you just named, we cover. (No bankruptcy or contingency cases)

 

Richard Jacobs: Okay. What about let’s say someone has a legal problem, you finance them, the attorney completes the case, let’s say it takes 9 months but now their payments are continuing. Have you seen people become resentful because they still have to keep paying even though their legal situation is resolved?

Jason Brown: Not that I’ve seen so far. I assume that at some point in time, that could happen but most people are just relieved to have some kind of financial relief there, to have an option to make payments. We are in the business of lending, we take calculated risks. Most of our clients are people with steady jobs and good credits, so they tend to pay on time. Many of these people have the cash to pay upfront but would rather give or rather pay overtime to cover any upcoming court fines, fees, costs, things like that, and that’s something that most clients don’t think about when they are hiring an attorney is there could be additional cost down the road, most of our clients really appreciate that aspect.

Richard Jacobs: Okay. And the only people listening to this call will be attorneys but just so I know, you work just with attorneys and how large of a firm can you handle?

Jason Brown: I have sole practitioners with 5 cases a month, and firms with 15+ offices. 

Richard Jacobs: All right, anything else that I should have asked you that I didn’t before we wrap and give people a chance to contact you and give you their info?

Jason Brown: After running the numbers and looking over all of the data that we have had so far, attorneys are telling us, especially our successful attorneys, that this is the single most effective lead capture conversion and magnet tool that they have ever seen in addition to their current marketing. Their current marketing is driving clients in but by being able to offer a financial product, that doesn’t exist for 99 percent of attorneys in the marketplace right now, they have a significant leg up on every other attorney whether it’s on their street or in their area of representation because they can literally have a fractional payment relative to any in-house payment plan or cash payment.

We have already heard the results. People are spreading the word and clients are coming and calling attorneys specifically because they have the financing, I would really recommend connecting with your marketing partner and promoting the fact that you have financing, clients will call you. The results are really significant.

Richard Jacobs: That’s great, okay. So, for attorneys that heard this call, they’re interested and want to call you and get started to find out more, what’s the best phone number and email and way for them to reach you?

Jason Brown: You can call our office at (404) 369 -3126. I pick up the phone just as much as everyone else here. I like to really be involved in the business and keeping my finger on the pulse of what is working and what’s not. The responses that we are getting from attorneys, or you could email me directly. It’s jason@iqualifylending.com and mention the discount code “Speakeasy” because if you don’t, whether I or someone else answers the phone, they’re going to try and set you up at the $1,499 fee and as we mentioned earlier, this code will provide you with a one-time reduced fee discount on your sign up cost with I Qualify Lending.

Richard Jacobs: Got you, okay. Well, I think offering financing is going to be a big-time game changer for a lot of attorneys who are battling low price, price killers out there and losing clients that can’t afford them, so I’m glad you came on the call. I appreciate it and one question that we got to ask you is how about the state bar, is there going to be any conflict there? Is this considered fee splitting? Tell me a little bit about that.

Jason Brown: It’s a great question that I get asked often. I live here in Atlanta and so I went to the Atlanta State Bar before we presented this product out to the market and got an opinion from them in writing but we clearly explained what we are doing. There is no conflict, there’s no fee splitting, there’s no fee for service because it’s truly just the financial product. Previously, we had a sliding scale of fees that we charge based on credit risk. We decided to go ahead and move that to a flat fee so that there would be no misconception on fee for service.

You’re paying a flat 4.99% on every case that gets funded from us, just like a credit card. For the state bars in all states, we are compliant. But if you have any question, feel free to reach out.

Richard Jacobs: So, this is similar. If I’m going to pay for your legal bill with my Amex versus a loan from you, the card charges me a certain rate, you charge me a different rate but still a charged rate, there’s no fee splitting.

Jason Brown: Yes, it’s 2 percent for visa, it’s 3.5 for Amex, and it’s 4.99% for us. The difference is we find money the client didn’t have access to, and use those funds to pay the attorney in full, upfront. 

 

iQualify Lending is the most powerful program an attorney can offer. Our ‘Easy Retainer Financing’ platform has helped clients receive millions of dollars in loan offer to pay for their legal cases.

*Parts of this interview were corrected to reflect current information.

 

5 Things Every Attorney Should Know About Client Financing 3 years ago

In a recent conversation with one of the most well-respected immigration attorneys in the country, he asked me a very simple question – “what are the top 5 things I need to know about financing?” It dawned on me that if he had that question, other attorneys might have the same question.

When A Client Is Approved, It’s Like Getting Paid In Cash

When a client accepts a financing offer, it’s the equivalent of getting paid your full retainer fee upfront. That’s right – 100%.

It Increases Cash Flow – Sometimes Significantly
We all know that clients who go on in-house terms don’t pay over the long run. At best, you are looking at getting paid 70% of your full fee. By offering client retainer financing and getting paid your full retainer from a client you might have extended in-house terms to, it’s like finding money in your pants pocket. It was yours to begin with, but it could have easily been missed.

Instant Approvals Help You Sign More Clients
Getting a client approved for a financing offer takes less than 90 seconds. You can get them approved and under contract within minutes. no driving to the bank, and waiting in line.

You Are Already Offering Financing – And It’s Costing You A Fortune

When you offer In-House payment terms, you are offering financing. The good news is you are getting paid half your fee upfront. The bad news? You are the bank for the rest, and your track record of collecting payments is pretty bad. That’s why client retainer financing is so important. It removes risk.

It’s Compliant With Your State Bar
We follow 5 major bar tenets to stay compliant. No compulsion to perform. No limitation of choice. Fair market pricing. No compensation other than the collection of legal fees. Arms length transaction. By ensuring that we operate in compliance with your state bar rules, we remove any barrier to entry.

If you would like more information about offering retainer financing for your clients click here.

iQualify Lending is the most powerful program an attorney can offer. our ‘Easy Retainer Financing’ platform has helped clients receive millions of dollars in loan offer to pay for their legal cases.