Recent headlines in the financial press are replete with stories about the new boom in buy now, pay later financing for retail purchases, with many retailers, including Walmart, the nation’s largest, now offering these point-of-sale loans.
Now, the electronic payments company LawPay is bringing buy now, pay later financing to the legal industry. It will soon begin rolling out a new payment-financing option for legal clients, ClientCredit, which allows clients to pay for legal services over time while the law firm receives 100% of the invoiced amount upfront.
This is the first time that payment financing for legal clients will be incorporated directly into an e-payments application. While some other payment platforms allow clients to make installment payments, the firms receive those payments on the same installment schedule, not upfront.
And while other companies provide financing for clients to help them pay legal costs, their plans are not available at the point of payment; rather, they require clients to go through a loan application process that is external to law firms’ invoicing and payments systems.
With ClientCredit, the financing option will appear directly in LawPay’s checkout interface, alongside options for paying by credit card or electronic check. If the client selects the ClientCredit option, the client will be prompted to fill out a short application and will typically get a decision within moments.
If the financing is approved, the attorney is paid the full fee immediately and the client pays that amount over time.
“One of the things that we think a ton about here at LawPay is giving our law firms flexibility, so that their clients have multiple ways in which they can pay their legal bills,” Dru Armstrong, LawPay CEO, told me during a call yesterday.
This new payment option will be rolled out in phases to LawPay customers starting later this year and should be fully available to all customers early in 2022, Armstrong said.
To provide the service, LawPay is partnering with Affirm, a company that provides “buy now, pay later” financing programs for retail and e-commerce vendors such as Walmart, Amazon, Expedia, Target, and many others.
LawPay says this new payment option will enable law firms to get paid faster and more predictably, and to spend less time chasing after payments.
It will also allow firms to expand their potential client base, as flexible payment options enable more clients to seek their services. In a pilot of the program, one user predicted that the firm’s consultations would increase by 25%.
“This is, from our perspective, a win-win for both the lawyer as well as for the client, because the lawyer gets paid upfront and the client gets to pay over time, and gets that flexibility,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said that financing terms and interest rates will vary based on the client’s credit worthiness, the size of the loan, and other factors. The maximum amount a client will be able to finance through the service is $15,000.
“We think there’s a huge opportunity for this, and really for our attorneys to be able to meet the changing needs of their clients and provide them with a new payment type that has emerged and become very standard today in the consumer world,” Armstrong said.