8 Legal Billing Tips for Real Estate Attorneys

31 Oct

8 Legal Billing Tips for Real Estate Attorneys


Why is Billing For Real Estate Lawyers Different?

Real estate lawyers face some of the same challenges that other lawyers face when billing and collecting outstanding balances from customers. However there are unique challenges that lawyers in real estate face that are unique to them when it comes to billing. Addressing these issues proactively will help to improve the challenges that real estate attorneys face in accounting for their practice. Here are eight billing tips for real estate attorneys.

1) Using A Quality Legal Billing Software Program

While many real estate firms don’t bill by the hour and instead charge by transaction, having a legal billing system in place can help to document the steps and charges and help to show clients the work and effort placed into the case. Doing so will help to improve on your billing process and improve on collections.

2) Integrating Your Law Firm Billing Software with Your Finance Software

Law firms will need to bill their clients to get paid and real estate attorneys can quickly and more efficiently bill their clients when they integrate their legal billing software directly with their finance ERP system. Since real estate attorneys have a lot of small cases that they handle an integration from billing with the legal billing software can cut down on mistakes and errors and improve on the collection time for real estate attorneys.

3) Using a Quality Case Management System to Monitor Different Clients

Unlike other forms of law which handle larger clients, real estate attorneys often deal with smaller transactions, particularly for those who handle smaller residential homes. A quality case management system like that sold by the South Dakota Odyssey Case Management program provides numerous benefits including allowing you to:

– segregate receipts of funds on behalf of clients that you need to segregate from the standard legal funds that you receive for services
– allows for a more organized and streamlined manner of organizing your finances relating to the various cases that you handle
– provides a document storage solution for real estate transactions that allow you to easily retrieve data and documents
– provides for a complete billing solution that saves details of your financial documents at all times

4) Use Standard Engagement Letters that Are Complete and Enforceable

Engagement letters between real estate lawyers and clients really protect both parties from potential billing pfoblems that will be encountered and allow for a quick remedy to issues that you are encountered. Engagement letters best serve a purpose when the legal service is contested, particularly in larger real estate transactions or when the deal ultimately falls through and the parties try to avoid their legal bills in what was a fruitless exercise. An signed engagement letter helps to protect the law firm from these situations and protects them from the marked arguments that can arise. It can also help to avoid claims of perjury by your clients and claims that you didn’t properly represent their interests.

5) Use Checkists to Avoid Errors and Missing Billing

Have an organized system to surround your billing and to make sure that customers are billed in a timely manner. Checklists and documented policies and procedures manuals will help to make sure that staff members who are in charge of billing from the law firm billing software program know what steps they need to take at each point and avoid items falling through the cracks.

6) Documenting Expenses and Filing Fees

Real estate firms sometimes need to pay expenses on behalf of clients in order to speed transactions along. Paying reimbursable filing fees and other expenses may be part of the process of being a real estate attorney but firms need to make sure that they recover these costs in addition to the printing fees and other client related costs. Make sure that you Law Firm has a process built in to capture these costs and have them reimbursed by your clients.

7) Hire A Bookkeeper or External Party to Handle Billing

By hiring a bookkeeper or employee designated with billing your real estate attorneys on staff can avoid the call of administrative work and focus on the process of handling customers and not billig. It also avoids the potential inaccuracy in their billing.

8) Having a Client Sign that the Services Were Successfully Completed

Billing disputes can sometimes be avoided when a real estate law firm has a transaction signed off by a client as having been completed. This step, while not always binding in court, can help to avoid billing disputes at the end of a case.

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