Family lawyer Claude Ducloux is Director of Education, Ethics, and Compliance for LawPay, an online payment system specifically designed for lawyers; he also serves as a liaison to the legal community. Diana Shepherd, Family Lawyer Magazine’s Editorial Director, interviewed Claude about LawPay’s “secret sauce” and how the service helps lawyers improve cash flow and achieve peace of mind.
What niche does LawPay fill for family lawyers?
Most lawyers hate learning new technologies – but we like getting paid. LawPay’s CEO, Amy Porter, developed a technology that suits the legal profession to a T. Lawyers like it because it’s easy to use and it’s a safe way to get paid; they can send bills instantly, track payments into a trust account, and check their status on the go.
LawPay integrates seamlessly with more than 30 of the most popular practice management technologies – including Leap, Clio, Cosmolex, and TimeSolv – so you can attach a secure payment link to your email, website, or invoices, and clients can pay you 24/7 from their computer or smartphone.
Offering clients this service turbocharges collections. Family lawyers represent people rather than corporations, and their clients are used to paying with credit cards. I’ve been a lawyer for 41 years; I tried LawPay about 10 years ago, and it changed my whole practice. When my bills go out at nine in the morning, I’ll have thousands of dollars deposited in my account before five o’clock that afternoon.
What type of reporting system does LawPay provide for lawyers?
When you log into your LawPay account page, you can see who’s paid and the total amount of payments this month or year. You can assign practice areas to clients – divorce, custody, property division – and see where your money is coming from. If you see that X% of your LawPay payments comes from custody, for instance, you could decide to devote more time to building that practice area.
How do the State Bar Associations feel about LawPay? Is LawPay part of the ABA Advantage Program?
LawPay is officially a member benefit of 48 State Bar Associations. Technically, we’re recommended by every State Bar Association possible, because Georgia and California don’t allow the endorsement of member benefits. We work hard to earn that trust every day, and we don’t take the positive reviews we get from lawyers for granted. LawPay is the only payment solution for the ABA Advantage program. That means that LawPay has been vetted and proven to be worthy of being part of the program. We take this honor very seriously.
How many law firms currently use LawPay?
There are about 35,000 law firms and 50,000 individual lawyers using LawPay. And it’s growing: more than 1,000 lawyers sign up every month.
You’re dealing with very sensitive information and, potentially, large sums of money. What do you have in place to protect the lawyers you work with?
At LawPay, we’re trained to be Payment Card Industry (PCI) Level 1 Compliant, which is the highest possible level of compliance in the industry. Our clients don’t worry about LawPay having their sensitive information; in fact, some are happy the payment information is not stored in their office. LawPay will train our clients to be PCI Level 1 Compliant and issue a certificate stating they’ve learned the latest PCI Compliance Techniques. That can make both the lawyer and their clients feel more secure than simply paying with a credit card.
How does online payment technology like yours affect a lawyer’s business?
As a lawyer, nothing has affected my collections as positively as adding a hyperlink so clients can pay me instantly when I email their bills to them. The link takes them right to my payment page; they put in their credit card information, the money goes into my account. I get an email saying, “Bob just paid you $4,100” and Bob gets an email saying, “You just paid Claude $4,100.” Everybody’s happy, and I have the peace of mind of knowing I have been paid for my work.
Do you believe you’re providing lawyers with some peace of mind as well as a service?
Any time a lawyer improves their cash flow and knows there’s enough money for their overhead and expenses, they can’t help but have peace of mind. I remember when I went on my own in 1989, every day I would look for the mail in hopes that another check would arrive so I could pay my assistant and pay my mortgage. With LawPay, I reach my “peace of mind” amount much sooner because I see the money coming in immediately. There’s less hassle, less worry, and fewer clients to follow up for non-payment. When I notice someone hasn’t paid I send them another email with a payment link. Most of them pay as soon as they receive the email.
What is LawPay’s “secret sauce”?
Our “secret sauce” is unparalleled customer service to lawyers. You’d think a company this big would have claims against it. We don’t – and I cannot think of a single letter or email where a client has written to complain about our service. Another great thing is that when you call LawPay, you’re calling someone in Austin, Texas – not a call center overseas.
Are your services designed for mid-to-large-sized law firms? Or do you serve small or solo practices as well?
We serve law firms of all sizes. We just started a package where a law firm can pay a flat fee, under $200, for all of the services for the entire year. Or you can pay $10 a month plus a transaction charge. The individual lawyer can choose and only pay for what works best for them
Can you tell me how the LawPay CLE department supports and educates attorneys?
Over my 41-year career, I’ve given many, many CLE presentations. LawPay’s CLE program primarily concentrates on law office management and typical issues like grievance, avoidance, conflicts of interest, fiduciary duties, and cybersecurity. I also do specialized presentations on, for example, on implicit bias, or how do you present things differently to millennials than you do to Generation X, etc.
Any last words for your family law colleagues?
The practice of family law is very stressful. Making it easy for lawyers to bill and then accept online payments means one less headache for their practice. For family lawyers – whose clients expect and may need to use credit cards – LawPay is an essential tool. Plus, lawyers can access great analytic reports that tell them which practice areas generate the most or the least revenue, which could help them decide where to focus their practice.
Claude Ducloux practices family law in Austin, TX. In 2018, the Supreme Court of Texas appointed him to a three-year term on the Supreme Court on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda. He is the Director of Education, Ethics, and Compliance for LawPay. www.lawpay.com
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