There are many legal billing software options on the market, and every one of them purports to be the best choice for your legal practice. With so many bells and whistles to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which features will actually benefit your firm and which ones are just for useless show.
Here is a comprehensive list of the legal billing software features that truly matter – the ones that take your law firm from good to amazing!
Time tracking is an essential part of accurate and efficient legal billing software. You must be able to adequately track the number of hours, minutes, and even seconds that you spend on every single client task. Failure to do so can result in your firm being under-compensated for work done or your clients being overbilled for completed tasks.
But while most legal billing softwares claim to offer time tracking, the vast majority lack an option that is truly useful for the needs of today’s legal professional. For example, you need time tracking that is accessible from various platforms. Whether you’re sitting at your office desk or in a coffee shop across from the courthouse, you need a time tracking tool that is available, even without an internet connection.
For lawyers concerned with profitability, budgeting should be a required legal billing feature. By setting specific time and billing limitations, you can ensure that all members of the team are staying within budget as they complete matter tasks. The most comprehensive budgeting tools allow supervisors to receive overage notifications, along with the staff members involved with the case.
Budgeting options also allow you to effectively keep track of fixed fee billed matters, so you can ensure profitability while also meeting client expectations.
In an industry where expenses are often passed on to the client for reimbursement, it is important to maintain adequate expense tracking practices. Gone are the days where lawyers keep numerous receipts and pieces of paper in a file cabinet. Instead, savvy lawyers use innovative legal billing softwres that simplify the expense tracking process.
Not only can you store expense receipts electronically for easy safekeeping, but you can also organize them by category and attach them to their relevant cases. One of the most time-saving benefits of an expense tracking tool is the ability to attach receipts and documentation directly to the invoice, for quick and easy client review.
Legal project management (LPM) is becoming more widely used within the legal industry, as lawyers learn the usefulness of handling cases in this manner. Whether you have already started implementing LPM into your practice, or you anticipate possibly doing so in the future, why not choose a legal billing software that already includes the tools you need for effective project management?
From task management systems to progress monitoring, the right legal billing system can help you execute and maintain an effective LPM.
What good is a legal billing system if the invoicing process is still cumbersome and difficult to navigate? A useful platform simplifies the invoicing process, so you and your staff can quickly and easily turn tracked time into customized, detailed billing statements.
Paperwork is an indisputable part of legal practice. Law offices are constantly overrun with pages upon pages of documents, pleadings, evidence, and random notes. The right legal billing software includes tools to adequately manage all of this paper in an organized fashion. Whether you need to store Word documents, PDFs, or Excel spreadsheets, the right tool is able to handle all of them effortlessly.
Secure cloud storage promotes the safekeeping of important data in a secure environment. Documents can also be attached to specific projects and matters with folders and tags to keep them organized. Also, look for a document management feature that allows you to preview the file before actually opening it, which is a real time saver.
For the lawyer who wants to keep informed about the well-being of her law firm, reporting features are a must. These tools allow you to run various firm reports, such as:
- Billable hours
- Nonbillable hours
- Accounts receivable
- Expense tracking
Insightful reports can be run in different formats to provide you with detailed views of your firm at any given time. Simply enter the parameters of your search into the system and run the relevant report.
Considering the value of the data you store within your legal practice; shouldn’t security be at the top your features list? Look for a legal billing system that utilizes the most innovative security measures, including tools like:
- Secure cloud storage
- Highly encrypted data transmission
- Virtual 100% uptime
- Instant software updates
The right legal billing software provides integration tools, so you can quickly and easily sync time tracking records, expense reports, and other accounting information. Whether your office uses QuickBooks or AccountEdge, you want a billing software that provides for seamless integration with your accounting program of choice.
Document management systems like NetDocuments and Dropbox are also commonly used within the legal profession. If these are tools in your toolbox, choose a legal billing program that allows for integration with them as well.
A client portal keeps your clients informed, even when you’re busy working on other tasks. With this legal billing software tool, your clients can independently log into their own accounts to view work completed on their matters, along with billing information. It is an extremely useful way to keep clients up-to-date with ease.
There you have it – the legal billing software features that actually matter. While it may seem like a lot to ask for, there is one system on the market that provides all of these features in one affordable package – TimeSolv legal billing software. Click here to check out all that TimeSolv offers for your law firm.
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.