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Three ways for law-firm invoices to disclose discounts

Many law firms routinely give billing-rate discounts, but what is the best or most common practiced for telling clients about their savings on the invoice?

Some firms simply reduce the billing rates of the lawyers who work on the client’s matters and send in the bill without self-promoting fuss and bother. Aggressive or thoughtless in-house counsel might overlook the built-in discount and take a unilateral discount.

More commonly, firms state somewhere on the invoice that the amount sought excludes the discount of five percent or whatever. They may or may not state the amount of the discount.

As a third variation, the firm lets stand its normal billing rates, totals the fees incurred for the period, and then shows the amount of the discount. Subtraction of the discount from the total leaves the net fees due according to the invoice. I favor the third method.