Hilary A. Bell practices family law and mediation in San Antonio. Like most attorneys, she had to learn the ins and outs of running a law practice outside of law school.
“The majority of law school is focused on theory and case law. Learning the day to day, the ins and outs, is on you to find out,” said attorney Hilary Bell of Bell Ripper, PLLC.
The biggest part of the ins and outs for most attorneys, especially in smaller practices like Bell Ripper, PLLC, often comes down to the how and when of getting paid by clients. The firm partnered with Justice For Me to make the process a little easier and offer payment plans.
“I was very relieved that there was someone who was willing to help our business take on some of the risk and some of the trial of financing legal fees,” said Bell. “It’s very helpful to have that extra layer of help for our business.”
Bell Ripper, PLLC had offered payment plans to clients in the past but typically with large, monthly payments. For a $5,000 to $8,000 retainer, it meant a payment of anywhere from $500 to $1000 a month or more for the client, which was still a stretch for many.
“Those payments are large. They’re hard for families to afford,” said Bell.
Offering payment plans through the firm also meant the administrative staff spent a great deal of time on recurring billing and collections. Partnering with Justice For Me has meant lower, monthly payments for clients and the removal of bill collections from the firm’s administrative duties. An added benefit has proven to be an improved level of trust in the attorney-client relationship.
“It’s not fun as an attorney to have to harass my client for money. If I’m hounding them for money, it makes them feel like my interest is in getting paid not in representing their interest,” Bell explained. “Taking that piece out of the puzzle is extremely helpful. It helps keep them focused and me focused on taking care of their needs and not us putting in the administrative hassle of hounding our clients for money.”
Hilary has her JD from St. Mary’s University School of Law and her Bachelors in Philosophy from Texas Tech University.