Developing successful financial habits in a law firm is not a complicated matter that requires rigorous training. Clear policies can help promote the practice with time. However, there are institutions of higher education which are finding the need to equip their learners with financial planning. An example of such schools is the University of Georgia
which has made financial planning an interdisciplinary field of study.
A law firm should practice the following if it wants to develop successful financial habits;
1. Have Clear billing policies and procedures. Proper systems should be set to take into account when and how payments should be made to the company. The policies should also stipulate the limit on the amount that can be approved for payment to suppliers.
2. Use of Technology. The old days of storing a huge chunk of paperwork are gone, and paperless documentation has become the usual way of doing things. Any firm that wants to succeed in its financial management has to invest in reliable application and software packages that make billing and invoicing easy. Legal departments and lawyers should invest in a good law firm billing software
to aid in managing finances.
3. Carrying out a regular follow-up. This is the only way to convert receivables into cash if a company does not want to fall victim of writing off bad debts. A monthly monitoring is the most recommended timely follow-up.
4. Timely billing. This calculates to adequate collections. A firm should have different billing strategies for various categories of cases. For example, transactional cases should be billed at or before their closing since clients are likely to reinvest the proceeds. On the other hand, billing of litigation files should be monthly.
5. Have a financial manager. Not all lawyers can handle finances and collect bills from clients well. Instead of doing such tasks they are not good in, an expert should handle the monetary tasks of billing, collection, budgeting, and record-keeping for them.
6. Transparency. This is a great virtue in financial management. A firm should have a free exchange of information regarding finances in the organization to foster growth.
7. Use of financial reports. They help promote proper billing and collection customs. Regular review of the financial reports with those involved in collection or billing is another useful practice. The publication of these reports is also important in keeping all members of the firm on their toes.
8. Insist on cash retainers. It is important t to have cash retainers when engaged with another small local company or one that is in another state.
There are various case management options for law firms today. An example is Filevine, a customized case management designed for plaintiff-side law firms. Filevine integrates intelligent communication to run efficiently. Harvard Law School case management
is also used to support the handling of document’s, cases and clients through Time Matters. When handling data, it is important to practice proper research management and citation
. A firm has to have a bibliographic tool that helps in the organization of studies and references.
The Use of Law Firm Billing Software
Law firm Billing Software is an application used by advocates and legal departments. CICERO LawPack V10 is one of the best law firm billing software with over 30 years of use. However, the software is not the same as it was years ago but is rather evolving with time. It allows integration of applications so that data can only be entered once without the need of updating all the other applications records independently. CICERO V10 determines the rates of each job, case or lawyer. Other than determining the rates, the application also provides the status of all the cases providing a positive and smooth monitoring of cash flow.
The Billing Process
A legal billing software aids in ensuring accuracy in billing preparation. These software packages consist built-in practice management software that interlinks all the aspects of your firm. Examples of legal billing software packages include Amicus Attorney, ProLaw, Clio and Abacus Law.
The Use of Billing Applications
1.PracticePanther helps in managing finances as it works hand in hand with Quick Payroll and Peachtree. It offers specialized collections of reports, facilitates budgeting and tracks expenses.
2.Abacus is a unique software which provides one-click time and billing.
3.Clio gives law firms a direct pricing model. This software and PracticePanther charge every attorney $49 as monthly subscription fee and $25 to every other support staff in the organization.
4. Amicus Attorney allows easy transition from QuickBooks as it is compatible with QuickBooks.