Will cheaper phone calls mean cheaper legal fees?


A recent survey has shown that the low cost of calls made via business VoIP connections may possibly also contribute to cheaper legal bills for both businesses and consumers.

Law firms questioned in the US by consultants, Mattern & Associates, have revealed that clients are increasingly querying – and in some cases declining to pay – charges relating to telephone calls made in the course of legal casework.

According to the survey, the refusal to accept the charges is based on clients being all too aware of the significant cost savings currently possible with calls made via business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) channels.

Quite simply, say the consultants, clients are refusing to entertain paying for phone costs which they see as way over and above what their law firm itself would have paid.

Many business clients in particular will doubtless be familiar with the type of savings achievable through VoIP as many are believed to be switching, or thinking of switching, to internet protocol (IP) telephony services; either through the purchase of their own VoIP business phone systems, or via the services of a remote business VoIP provider or VoIP reseller.

Significantly, the survey found that the cost of phone calls charged to clients rankles so profoundly that it falls within the top four most distrusted and contested of legal fees – sitting alongside legal research, photocopying, and word processing charges.

In many cases, the survey found, individual legal consultants anticipating a challenge from a client will write-off a fee even before it had been passed on.

Mattern & Associates themselves recommend that any telephone fees charged back to a client should be priced ‘competitively’; and they further point out that taking formal steps to recover such unpaid telephone fees will not make economic sense if the charges truly are competitive.








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