Making it easier to grow your law firm


This section covers succession, specialisation, mergers, selling a law firm, becoming a partner, and business structure

How to plan and execute the process of starting up a new legal practice that is compliant and financially healthy

How to set up your firm’s systems to provide the information that enables you to improve profitability and cashflow

How to avoid professional negligence claims, with examples of common problems and suggested solutions. Plus FAQs on PII

This section only covers SRA Accounts Rules and GDPR at the moment. Compliance for start-ups is covered in the Starting up...

How to protect your law firm from cyber attacks. What steps to take if your systems are hacked

How to recruit and retain a team that is both happy and highly effective, dealing with the HR issues along the way

In marketing, like anything, you need to get the basics right. Otherwise the time and money you invest in marketing will be wasted

How to win new clients, make the most of existing relationships, encourage referrals and generate new leads

How to approach creating a law firm website that works, from agreeing your objectives to making sure you get the results you want

Why lawyers need to know about social media, how to make the most of the opportunities and how to avoid potential pitfalls

How to use PR to build your firm’s reputation; and how to create cost-effective advertising – traditional and online – that delivers results

The Foonberg Gratitude Curve

Richard Burcher

Richard Burcher is chairman of Burcher Jennings, a leading supplier of specialist legal costs and pricing services, and the pricing consultancy Validatum, which together have created the Virtual Pricing Director® pricing platform. Here Richard explains the Foonberg Gratitude Curve, and why it is important to law firms. (21 June 2022)


Few lawyers today will have heard of Jay G. Foonberg, an American lawyer born in 1935 who practised law for over five decades. He is best known for his classic American Bar Association bestseller, 'How to Start and Build a Law Practice', which spectacularly sold over 300,000 copies - a remarkable achievement for a niche topic.

He articulated a concept that came to be known as 'the Foonberg gratitude curve'. It describes the correlation between the progression of a piece of legal work and the client’s appreciation of that work and therefore their willingness to pay, set against a timeline.

We are all too aware that law firm cash flow is positively or negatively impacted by the timing of invoicing and the timing of payment of those invoices.

And yet, all firms struggle with lawyers who are poor at getting their bills out. In some cases it may be the partner in charge who asserts that interim (monthly or milestone) billing is wholly inappropriate, or is unacceptable to their clients, or is even incongruous with current practice. "We simply can't bill it until the job is finished" - or words to that effect.

But not only does a delay negatively impact cash flow. It materially impinges upon the client’s perception of what the lawyer actually did, the value they contributed to the matter, and ultimately, what the client feels is a fair fee.

You see, clients have very short memories and client gratitude and willingness to pay is like a fillet of fish sitting in the sun - it goes off pretty quickly.

But no further explanation is required from me. Foonberg’s original diagram says it all…


Foonberg's curve


This blog is based on the blog on the Validatum® website with the same title, 'The Foonberg Gratitude Curve'.

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