Each state in the U.S. have their own rules and regulations on how the legal practice handles their billing and expenses. No, the state does not regulate legal fees nor how law firms keep track of their billing and expenses. A legal billing software system must be designed to analyze and accurately generate reports for legally responsible accounting purposes.
Due to the different billing matters for an attorney, i.e., retainers, fixed fee, contingency, hourly, and flat fee systems, a billing software system can be used by small firms and a multi-tiered practice. Due to state laws, a law firm must keep each ‘matter’ or task as a separate line item.
A law firm needs a tracking management software to handle all monetary matters which will be needed in future state audits or if any disputes arise. Also, the more time spent on accounting or bookkeeping matters is not generating money for the law firm, plus this type of activity is not billable.
Choosing the right billing software for a law firm means that management needs to know the right questions to ask and then see if that software package can provide the answer. Questions like:
• Can the software system accommodate the size of our firm?
• How many attorney’s and staff personnel will be submitting expense reports.
• Can the system support credit card purchase receipts and/or mobile expense input apps.
• Can the LAW FIRM BILLING SOFTWARE’ be integrated into existing software programs, like back-end systems that are used to approve, reimburse and generate expense reports.
• Is it user-friendly for legal staff, i.e., an attorney, a paralegal, office managers, etc.
Software technology is designed to take the grudge-work out of previously laborious tasks in a legal environment. Therefore, LEGAL BILLING SOFTWARE is meant for users to instantly see the money spent by category, merchant, clients, projects, currency (many law firms have client’s outside the U.S.) and identifying each legal department break-down.
Benefits of Billing Software
Can your LAW FIRM BILLING SOFTWARE’ capture and retain your data for auditing purposes? Accounting expenses must be stored and available for federal, state or internal auditing. Billing software is designed to track expenses and the documents of proof to help keep an eye on a firm’s financial status. Gone are the days of paper trails only, legal billing software systems are now automated with accuracy and efficiency, saving the legal staff time and money.
Detailed Listing of Software Systems
When looking for the right LEGAL BILLING SOFTWARE tools, law firms need to look at systems that can support all their expense management services. To help law firms choose the right software, visit the Washburn University “Wash Law” legal research web offerings.
From A to Z, the listing of legal software packages and a link to their sites is very comprehensive and is reliable. Their listing identifies software brands that includes a compilation of features for management, litigation support, legal billing and more.
Flexible System Used by Law Enforcement
For large corporate law firms, there is no better billing software system than those used by law enforcement agencies. For instance, the New York City Law Department is in charge of the population issues for each of the five boroughs.
Their billing and expense billing software helps attorney’s keep track of their expenses in litigation cases, business transactions, and all the ongoing legal issues that take place every day.
The law department of New York City also has a partnership with local law firms, entitled “Public Service Program,” where outside attorneys are used as trial attorneys, negotiators, examining witnesses, and taking depositions in a variety of cases.
A Case Step by Step
It is easily determined that law practices, with their myriad of legal projects and challenges, require a customized legal billing software. Each aspect of a case requires input into a billing system, for example:
• Client meets with attorney to discuss why, what, where and how
• The attorney and his staff gather all the documentation needed and review them
• Lawyer will make a filing in court
• The Discovery process begins
• If there isn’t an out-of-court settlement, you go to trial for an indeterminate amount of time.
Each cause of action is a collectable activity to be programmed into a billing software system. Matter tracking is made very detailed so that clients, auditors, etc., can see the breakdown for each entry. Cloud-based technology is also a great asset in billing software. It guarantees an ease of integration, installation and maintenance. Cloud software gives the legal field a higher sense of security in all the reports, invoices, and statements which are stored and generated.