Options and Benefits of E-Payments for Lawyers | Martindale-Avvo

How E-Payments Help Lawyers Build Practices: Options and Benefits

Paying online is a given for many business types, from your cable company to Amazon Prime. The idea still might feel foreign to those who run professional practices, like solo or small law firms. Although it might feel comfortable to stick with the paper check or walk-in-to-pay system, there are numerous benefits to accepting e-payments. Often, the proposition is a win-win: good for you, good for your clients. 

What Are E-Payments?

Electronic payments are payments your clients make to your firm through your website or online platform. You might already accept contactless payments inside your firm, such as credit or debit cards. What makes e-payments different is that your clients don’t have to come into your office to pay a bill. They can do it at their convenience, at any time of day, through a secure online portal. 

How Can E-Payments Help Your Law Firm?

There are several ways that your law firm can benefit from integrating e-payments into your business operations. You can still accept in-person payments if you choose, or even allow clients to mail you a check or invoice with a manual credit card authorization. E-payments are just another tool to make it easier for you to settle unpaid invoices.

Improve Client Satisfaction

Regardless of how friendly or welcoming your office is, coming in to pay a bill can be a hassle. It takes time out of a client’s day when they are likely already overloaded with errands. They might also be living with an injury as the result of a car accident and find it difficult to travel to you. 

Hiring a lawyer can also be a stressful experience, as it might remind them of a challenging situation they are currently going through, like a divorce or custody battle. An e-payments system meets people where they are by making it possible for them to pay virtually.

Receive Payment More Quickly

When a client receives your invoice in the mail, they might be able to transfer payment to you more quickly if you have an online portal available. If the money is in your account more quickly, it’s better for your firm. If you can earn interest on the revenue, even a day or two can turn into real cash value for your business.  

Early payment also helps you better fulfill your responsibilities to safeguard any money that goes into a client trust account. You can identify those funds and proceed with your other duties of representation.

Streamline Accounting

E-payment providers typically allow for easy integration into your existing accounts. This allows for easy reconciliation on a monthly or daily basis. It is unnecessary to wait for a daily report from an in-office payment provider that you must then enter into your firm’s accounting; with e-payments, that part is usually already done.

Modernize the Firm

In a competitive environment where clients have a great deal of choice about legal representation, e-payments offer a note of confidence. They signal to the client that the firm uses modern tools and is open to the latest technology. When they choose you to represent them, they feel reassured that you are up-to-date on the latest advances. 

What Are the Concerns About E-Payments?

As beneficial as e-payments can be, they do not come without risks. It is important to review these risks and take them into account before choosing a provider and implementing an e-payment system.


Payment gateways and providers don’t come for free, so it’s often worthwhile to compare packages offered by a single provider or by several providers. You can review the cost per transaction to see if you are charged less if you have a higher volume, for example.


Apart from the integration of the provider software with your accounting tools, it’s important to ask how frequently your transactions are deposited into your firm account. For example, it might be with every individual transaction, or as a single batch at the end of the day.


Every business owner has to safeguard the personal information of their customers and clients. This obligation seems to be even more important for lawyers. Ask the payment provider about the security safeguards that are in place and what steps they can help you take to prevent a data breach. 

What Are Your Options?

If you have an existing website provider, such as Wix, they might have a payment gateway already integrated into the platform. A payment gateway is the portal your clients use to pay you. It’s where they enter their payment information and complete the transaction. The gateway deposits the payment into your firm’s bank account.

The payment gateway should be distinguished from payment options. These are the kinds of payments you accept. You might opt to give your clients these choices:

  • Credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover)
  • Debit card
  • E-transfer
  • PayPal

Typically one payment gateway will support several kinds of payment options. Critically, however, not every gateway will offer the same options. Before you sign on with a gateway, check whether they let your clients have all of the payment options you’d like them to have. 

Among the payment gateways you might consider are:

Before signing on, you might want to double-check the details of each provider, including how it integrates into your present accounting system for easy reconciliation. 

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Martindale-Avvo can help you build your small firm or solo practice from the ground up. As you build up the client base in your area of practice, you can benefit from a marketing partner who can help you create a dynamic and effective online presence. Martindale-Avvo can help you with a wide range of legal advertising tools, specifically targeted to the needs of small firm lawyers. From search engine optimization (SEO) to pay-per-lead, Martindale-Avvo offers the tools you need. Contact us today to see what we can do for you. 

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