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Lawyers often struggle to find the right time and billing software for their law firm, whether they are solo, in corporate legal departments or working for a law firm. Usually, most law firms bill for their time in 15-minute increments, which means that they charge their clients every 15 minutes they work on a case. This also includes time spent on the phone in meetings (and some firms even bill for the time spent thinking about the case!).
This can be a very expensive way to bill, and this is one of the reasons legal fees are usually so high. Again, many firms also levy a minimum fee which is the lowest amount that they will charge for their services. This is usually fixed at a nominal upfront amount and it means that even if the firm only works on a case for just a few minutes, the client will still be charged this amount.
What exactly is Time Billing?
Time billing is a method of billing clients for the amount of time spent working on their legal issues. This type of billing can be used by businesses of all sizes but is most commonly used by law firms, accounting firms, and other professional services firms. When using time billing, law firms usually keep track of the amount of time spent working on each case and then bill the client based on that amount of time. This type of billing can benefit law firms as it allows them to track their costs and bill their clients more accurately.
How to bill time in a Law Firm?
Now that we know what is Time Billing, it’s important to know how to bill your time correctly. If you’re not billing your time correctly, your firm could be bleeding money.
The first and foremost step here is to keep strict track of your time. Many firms use time tracking law firm software for tracking billable time, but then again, you can also just use a simple spreadsheet. Make sure to track every minute you work for your client, including attending case-related conference calls, researching and time spent in drafting and sending emails.
Once you have a good system for tracking your time, you need to start billing your time correctly. The most common way to bill time is by the hour. You / your law firm can opt to bill by the day or even by the week. Make sure your firm makes you bill your time before starting work on a project.
Benefits of using law firm software for time billing
There are many tangible and intangible benefits of time billing software for law firms. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it helps the firm become more streamlined and efficient in its day-to-day workflow, as every minute is considered precious when you bill for time. This can lead to quicker payments from clients and optimized work for your firm’s accounting staff.
Additionally, time billing law firm software can also help to improve client relations. When clients see an itemised bill that details every charge, they are often more satisfied with the services they have received. Finally, time billing software can also help law firms avoid potential ethical issues by ensuring that all billable hours are accurately tracked, recorded and reported.
What are the Time and Billing Systems for Law Firms?
There are many different time and billing systems for law firms, but they all have one common function – to help the firm track its billable hours and on that basis, generate invoices for clients. The most basic law firm software may allow lawyers to track their time in say, 15- minute increments, while more sophisticated systems generally offer features like client tracking, task management and even expense tracking.
Again, some billing systems are designed specifically for solo practitioners, whereas others are better suited for larger firms. No matter what size or type your law firm is, there is almost definitely a time and billing system that can meet your needs.
How to select the best law firm software for time billing?
There are a few things to be kept in mind when selecting time and billing software for law firms –
By now, we have learnt that while there are several time and billing software available for law firms, the best law firm software for your legal practice will depend on the size of your firm and your own specific needs. Web-based, device-independent apps like Beveron’s Smart Lawyer Office or Smart Legal Counsel for instance, provide easy, intuitive, comprehensive and integrated solutions for billing time and efforts of your law firm, thus increasing your revenues manifold.