Many lawyers struggle with getting clients to pay for a variety of reasons.

Why don’t clients pay their lawyer

Having a legal issue is stressful. Nobody wants to hire a lawyer-they HAVE to hire one because their issues can’t be resolved without the help of an attorney.

Finding the right lawyer and working together is also so stressful that some clients ‘forget’ to pay.  Sometimes their are health emergencies or job loss that make it difficult for the client to pay you.

But often, the issue is that you, as the lawyer, didn’t ask the client to pay.  How does that happen? Well….

Sometimes, you ‘forget’ to ask because money is a sore topic for you. You have a poor money mindset that causes you to believe limiting messages like you don’t deserve the money or that clients will automatically know that you must be paid.

It’s most likely, though, that you assumed that since the intake conversation went well and that the client signed the engagement letter, they will pay.   Not always so, my friend. 

Use the force- Behaviorial Science

So what can you do?  Use the force, Luke. I mean, use behavioral science to your advantage!  

Behavioral science is the scientific study of human behavior. As a conflict expert, I’m fascinated by why people do what they do. I’ve seen so many people argue for solutions that weren’t in their best interest that I got curios.

Turns out that neuromarketing held a lot of the answers to my questions. It also works great for growing your law practice.

Three strategies to get paid

The three strategies are: Label, Ask, Proof Today, let’s talk about labeling.

Your clients are impacted by cognitive bias like everyone else.  You can use positive bias to your advantage.

People love to think well of themselves. There are three strategies to make that work for you. I’ll share one tip here.  

Label your client as someone who is likely to pay.   Being identified with positive qualities aligns with our client’s own view of being honest and trustworthy.  People will pay your fees to make the statement true. 

You know the old expression, people live up (or down) your expectations. Ask people to pay you so they confirm the expectation and police themselves.

Next post on Wednesday, I’ll talk about how to ask your clients to pay you.

Have you tried this technique or something similar? Share in the comments #lawyers


Dina Lynch Eisenberg, JD, is the CEO of, an outsourcing training/consulting firm for successful lawyers and entrepreneurs based in Oakland, CA.

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