online payments law firms

Why Are Law Firms Still Resisting Online Payments?


Innovation in payments technology means that consumers can pay for goods and services anywhere, at any time, with the device of their choice. Most industries reap the benefits of these flexible payments. However, some law firms have been resistant to implementing digital payment methods – for a variety of reasons – even though 80% of clients expect to be able to pay their legal service invoice online. 

What follows are four reasons why some law firms are hesitant about changing their practice to accept online payments for legal services – and how Legl debunks all of them.  

1. “Online payments add complexity to my firm’s processes.”

You might think adding another way for your firm to get paid will come with a steep learning curve. However, the truth is that an intuitive online payment solution will actually make running your firm easier than before. By accepting online payments, you’ll be able to quickly send your invoices via email and your clients will be able to pay you instantly, in a manner that is convenient for them. 

Legl’s powerful platform gives firms a range of tools for automating core finance processes like online payments, and is uniquely tailored to the requirements of law firms. Firms can easily generate payment links, create digital payment plans, along with easily reconciling payments using dashboards that update in real-time and provide all the reference information clearly. Legl also provides law firms with a firm-branded, secure checkout for their websites, enabling firms to demonstrate a tech-forward, modern approach to clients. 

After implementing Legl, Burnett & Reid have seen a dramatic reduction in their average payment times from several weeks to less than 24 hours. Read the full case study.

Firms like Burnett & Reid set automatic workflow steps with reminders to send client invoices and payment reminders-making cumbersome reconciliation and associated admin a thing of the past. 

2. “My firm isn’t up to date with technology.”

Despite the numerous benefits of online payment options, you may feel that your firm isn’t tech savvy enough to implement an online payment system. You can rest assured that including a firm-branded checkout on your website is very straightforward, and takes less than a day to get up and running. The payments portal provides a simple solution for clients to pay directly through your website and automates the sending of firm-branded receipts and other follow ups to clients. 

It’s important to highlight that there are risks to the firm when payments technology is not kept up to date. Online payments leverage Strong Customer Authentication, and encrypt the client’s card information, which provides better protection to law firms and clients alike. 

We’ve heard of some very worrying practices in law firms, with one firm telling us that they kept a folder of client card details in the office as part of their record-keeping and reconciliation process. Not only does this present a serious breach of data protection regulations, but it also increases the risk of error and of serious wrongdoing by a member of staff. This is not to mention the extremely time-consuming way of managing payment processes and reconciliation which places a huge administrative burden on staff.

With Legl’s payments solution, all the information required to reconcile payments is captured from the outset, and all the card information is securely encrypted in line with regulatory requirements. Law firms that send out payment request links to clients control all the information associated with the payment and make reconciliation a breeze.

The SRA requires that law firms reconcile money received into the client account in a ‘timely manner’ – which law firms have often interpreted as meaning ‘ 24 hours’.

When getting started with Legl’s platform, our expert team are on hand to answer all of your questions, taking the time to walk you through the steps of setting up the checkout on your website – so that your clients can easily pay your bill online at their convenience. 

Barry Davies, Practice Director of DJM Solicitors comments, “Since implementing Legl, 60% of payments are made outside of office hours – all payments which would have been delayed without Legl. With Legl’s online payment solution we reduced our debtor days and improved our working capital cycle. It’s had a hugely positive impact on our cash reserves.”

With a whopping 93% of law firm customers believing that using technology makes dealing with their lawyers easier and less expensive – can your firm afford not to embrace tech? 

3. “Legaltech is too expensive.”

Law firms may be hesitant to invest in new technology because the return on investment isn’t immediately apparent. Some forms of technology are costly, and, if there isn’t a direct and immediate economic improvement, the benefit may be hard to see.

It’s important to note that implementing a platform that enables secure, digital payments is highly cost effective, and generates dramatic results from week one. Accelerating average payment times by two weeks can free up hundreds of thousands of pounds on your balance sheet (or millions if you’re a larger law firm). 

Consumer and business clients alike are facing finance challenges in this uncertain economic climate. To improve your firm’s cash flow, reduce overdue payments and write offs, and expand your client pool, a platform like Legl enhances your firm’s operations and improves key metrics from the outset. 

The real question is: What’s the cost of inaction?

Claire Dunn, Conveyancing Partner at Woodfines Solicitors notes, “In terms of manual labour, Legl is saving at least 1 hour per transaction, and it’s reducing the overall time to complete a conveyancing transaction by 1-2 weeks.” On average, invoices raised in the legal industry take over 60 days to settle. Legl’s customers get paid via online payment links in an average of just over 7 hours. 

Reducing outstanding invoices by just 10% by year-end enables firms to more than double their net cash positions. The realisation that 55% of law firms don’t have enough cash in the bank to cover 1 month’s operating expenses means that firms should be taking action now to get invoices settled as quickly as possible. 

4. “We accept bank transfers – surely that’s enough?”

Today’s consumer and business clients expect to have convenient options to pay for services. Accelerating payment times and improving cash flow is best achieved when offering clients a range of options to pay, from cards to digital wallets to secure account-to-account transfers (like Legl’s Pay by Bank option – more information below). 

There’s an average of eight steps and nine minutes required to set up an initial bank transfer. Not to mention the security risks associated with sharing your firm’s bank account details, together with the increased risks  of receiving unsolicited funds into your business accounts.

In comparison, online payments require two steps and an average of 90 seconds to complete – ticking both boxes in terms of client convenience and mitigating risks around sharing bank information.

Digital wallets (like ApplePay and Android Pay) are the most modern and convenient payment options available on the market, and offering this option is an easy way for your firm to stand out and give your clients a seamless experience.

Nearly ten million people, or 18% of the adult population, registered for mobile payments in 2019, with 79% of these registered users recording a payment. Supporting these types of payments will dramatically improve your chances of getting paid on time. Most consumers aren’t comfortable with reading out their card details and security number during a phone call, so help them to avoid that by offering digital wallets, Pay by Bank, or online payments as a secure payment method.

Pay by Bank is a safe and easy way for clients to make a payment to law firms. Account to account payments authorise the transfer of funds directly from clients’ online banking apps to provide reduced risk, better oversight, and faster client collections. 

More choice and flexibility with Legl 

With Legl, your clients have a wide range of payment options to choose from (increasing the likelihood of your firm getting paid faster):

  • Pay by Bank – a simple, fast and safe way for clients to transfer funds directly from their bank account to yours. Enable clients to transfer funds securely without the need to enter bank or card details. Ensure that the right amount is paid by the right client into the right account, every time.
  • All major credit and debit cards – send secure, firm-branded payment request links for clients to pay through their preferred method. 
  • Digital wallets – for instant pay via cards stored on clients’ phones.
  • Phone payments and QR codes – for handling in-person payments at your firm. 

Legl’s platform enables your firm to leverage all the payment options listed above, and  helps firms modernise their financial operations, enabling them to get paid faster and their teams to work more efficiently. With a single source of truth for all payments data, firms can streamline their accounts receivable processes and quickly and easily reconcile and allocate payments – saving hours of manual work every day.

Choose an industry-recognised, trusted and secure technology platform

Client-centric law firms put their clients’ experience first. Today’s clients want more options and convenience when working with services. Law firms that embrace convenient payment methods like online credit card payments and digital wallets give clients what they want, and in turn boost their revenue and opportunities for growth.

Legl delivers a cloud-based platform that enables your firm to take advantage of all the latest payments technology, all whilst enabling your firm to automate core finance processes. 

We build you a firm-branded portal that embeds directly into your website, within 24 hours of partnering with us. If you don’t want the option for clients to pay their invoices via your website, no problem. Create firm-branded payment request links that clients can use to pay their invoices at the click of a button. 

With a solution that focuses on delivering a best-in-class digital client experience, make it easy for your team and your clients alike. There’s no app download required, and clients can make payments on any device, at a time of their choice. 

As Tom Hall, COO at Brachers, put it, “People want to be able to do things online, which means we as a law firm need to invest in technology to deliver this. Technology like Legl’s allows firms to operate remotely now and in the future.”

Get in touch to find out more about implementing Legl’s payments solution at your firm.