A Lawyer’s Guideline to Legal Billing

22 Sep

A Lawyer’s Guideline to Legal Billing


How Should You Bill Your Time?

The most important thing to recognize as a prestigious law firm in a New York City Law Department is for your legal team to know how to bill your time. That is the only thing that will indicate the manner in which the law firm billing software department will be able to invoice a client and save money. It’s always a good thing to follow guidelines for legal billing software and many law firms use software for that purpose. To track and take the time to properly bill clients is an important and significant part of being successful.

Partners, associates and paralegals, as well as the support staff in the litigation department all have specific guidelines to follow for their time. These are set in six, ten and fifteen minute time increments and all are based on the type of case and client involved.

These days’ clients are more computer literate and when bills increase they need to examine their selections for carefully regarding who they will hire for their legal billing software representation. Some clients go as far as using their own methods and law firm billing software to calculate many of the bills they receive. They sort and analyze their billing data using a variety of high tech application law firm billing software for these purposes.

Block Billing

For clients block billing is recognized as being a way of disguising a billing system that is inefficient and slows down the refunding to the firm. Many courts do not permit block billing because they know that it will hinder the reimbursement of the fees that the attorneys are supposed to receive once the judgment has been set. Separate billing for each itemized product is the best way to provide your invoice.

Electronic Billing

Frequently these days electronic billing has become a subject of scrutiny and dispute due to the carelessness of some firms who rely solely on software to do the job of what used to be the duty and function of the accountant. Time entries that are prompt and accurate still need to be supervised and overseen by a human versus a machine.

Invoices need to be drafted well and the descriptions given must be in great detail in order for the client to feel compelled and convinced to pay their bills on time and with much trust and confidence. The merit of the task will surely be reviewed and the job carried out will be gauged and compared every time to other such legal matters. Brevity of details has never served its purpose when billing clients who will be expected to return as satisfied customers.

Time Recording and Audience

Accuracy in timing is ensured when it’s registered right after the task has been completed. It’s difficult to try to remember the time for each task if it is not registered right away and prompt time-keeping has been recorded. Some firms require that the task that is being performed be written down, possibly in a notebook and then recording it each day or week at night or during the billing period.

The audience you are serving is very important especially when you record the time. As we already discussed previously there is an in-house council although no particular person has been appointed to serve in that capacity. Invoices are processed by several people both inside and outside corporations through third party auditors and legal professionals.

When recording the time, it is best not to use slang and too many abbreviations. Legal and concise terminology should be used in the billing since the time sheets your firm provides will be reviewed by people who are not familiar with legal terms. This may include accounting personnel and third party auditors.

What Are the Billing Policies?

Every client has an engagement letter, also known as a retention form. These will have budget guidelines, guidelines for timekeeping, as well as limitations for staffing and disbursement. There is task-based billing that is becoming a more common type of billing policy. It will track the litigation task well in advance and will record it for the client. In depth the client policies will be looked at and analyzed as time goes by more people will be looking for that type of sandal or shoe. The client billing tasks are client-specific with policies that can be applied using the particular billing code where no swipe or equipment is required.

A lawyer’s guideline to legal billing involves the approval of different types of invoices. The invoices should be sent and approved by all parties. That way invoices can be submitted on a monthly basis. The details of the work should be listed and made available to all Board members within a 30 day period once the services have been rendered. Make sure the statements sent from your firm for the legal services provided have supporting documents that can be used during the client legal billing process.

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