Don’t charge your clients for every minute of your time. In fact, don’t bill for a lot of minutes, if you are trying to develop a lasting relationship with your clients. Legal marketing is also about giving freebees.
Matt Homann at the [non]billable hour has a post in which he shares the views of an MBA finance person named Brian Ivanovick who advises people:
(1) not to always take their lawyers advice when it comes to contracts (meaning learn the legal potholes of a deal, and then decide what is important and what they are willing to fight for, because every detail in a contract and the time involved in negotiating them can get expensive); and
(2) since lawyers charge by the billable hour, seek general business advice from others (rather than your lawyer), and then have the lawyer put it into legalese. Ivanovick even suggests that the two parties work out a general agreement on what they want to accomplish before involving their respective lawyers.
Both Matt and I agree this is a sad business model for lawyers. A good lawyer marketer, who is focused on lasting relationships with his or her clients, would not allow such a situation to develop.
Many lawyers are not just good legal technicians, they can also be very capable advisors to their clients on a variety of issues. But you can’t and shouldn’t expect to charge for all of it.