A law firm’s billing software is crucial for its profitability. The wrong platform leaves attorneys overwhelmed by the invoicing process, which can lead to untimely and inaccurate bills. Inadequate billing diminishes the financial security of law firms.
However, the right software streamlines the billing process so that firm members can create invoices quickly and efficiently. High-quality software is not only valuable, but it’s also a smart investment in the future of your practice. If you want your law firm to grow and profit, you need the best billing software on the market.
Law Firm Billing is Unique
As a legal professional, you have to follow specific rules and guidelines when billing clients for your services. That’s why billing practices commonly used in other industries are probably inadequate for your firm. From bar association rules and the expectations that legal clients have of their attorneys, law firm invoicing is a specialized task that needs to be properly handled.
Here are some billing practices that are unique to law firms:
- Alternative fee arrangements
Law firms often offer various fee structures based on the type of case, so they need billing software that is flexible enough to accommodate these various billing models.
- Hourly Billing – The traditional billable hour is still the most common legal billing method. Under this arrangement, lawyers need to track the hours spent on a matter along with any additional expenses.
- Retainer Billing – Similar to hourly billing, the client provides the law firm with an advance to cover the number of hours expected to be spent on the case. The law firm draws from the retainer fund, and if the account gets low, the firm will request that the client replenishment it. At the conclusion of the case, unused retainer funds are returned to the client.
The management of retainers and trust accounts requires billing software that helps lawyers accurately track retainers while also complying with industry rules and guidelines.
- Flat Fee Billing – More and more law firms are turning to flat fee billing arrangements for their more simple, predictable cases. This option, if done correctly, can benefit the law firm while also satisfying the needs of the client. Clients prefer fixed fee arrangements because they know exactly how much their legal services will cost, without any unexpected costs or surprises on the end.
But flat fee billing needs to be handled appropriately in order to benefit the firm. That’s why a legal billing system that helps law firms handle fixed fee arrangements is so crucial.
- Contingency Billing – Cases like personal injury, are often handled on a contingency basis. If the case is successful, the attorney takes a percentage of the winnings to cover expenses and compensation. The remaining funds are passed back to the client. If the case goes against the client, the firm typically receives no payment at all. As with the other billing options, contingency arrangements are best handled with the right billing software.
Finding the Right Billing Tools
With all of these specialized needs, law firms need billing tools that help them adequately bill under various client circumstances. Gone are the days when paper ledgers and spreadsheets were sufficient for keeping billing tasks under control. These options may have been cheaper to implement, but they were also unreliable and prone to mistakes. Additionally, using these types of billing options is unreasonably time-consuming, taking attorneys away from their billable hours.
In an effort to save money, some solo and small law firms choose generic billing software options that are not specifically suited to law firms. While these platforms may work for other businesses, they are not adequately equipped to handle the matter-based billing or trust account management that law firms need.
These billing tools are also inadequate, slow, and inefficient. So, lawyers end up with convoluted systems that don’t meet their needs or get the job done.
TimeSolv legal billing software is the best billing software on the market for solo and small firms for the following reasons:
- An organized billing process starts from the moment you or your attorneys complete a billable task. Expedient time tracking sets the stage for accuracy and timeliness throughout the billing cycle. TimeSolv’s mobile app allows firm members to track their time from a smartphone or tablet.
- TimeSolv simplifies the steps between time tracking and invoice creation, so law firms can benefit from a more efficient billing process.
- The Expense Tracking feature streamlines the invoicing process by keeping expenses organized and easily accessible for billing. With TimeSolv, lawyers no longer need to keep up with numerous receipts or rely on an unreliable memory when recording client expenses.
- With automated billing reminders, the TimeSolv billing system allows law firms to set up prescheduled payment reminders that are sent to clients with overdue accounts.
- Clients are more likely to pay invoices in a timely manner when provided with quick and easy payment methods. TimeSolv’s client portal allows clients to independently log into your system and view their individual accounts. They can review work completed on their cases, along with any pending invoices. Through a collaboration with LawPay, TimeSolv’s portal also allows clients to quickly and easily make invoice payments using their credit cards.
Your Billing Software is an Investment
Remember, the less time you have to spend on your invoices, the more time you can spend on client matters and revenue generation. So, the right tools are essential. To learn more about TimeSolv legal billing, click here for a free no-obligation trial.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, Personal Touch Edits, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.