Law firm billing simply refers to the way in which you charge your clients for your services – often taking the form of invoices that factor in the work you’ve carried out in and out of the courtroom. For example, this could include any administration work or research. Some lawyers prefer to charge a set fee for entire cases, while others work around billable hours and have a set hourly rate to rely on.
There are various problems you can run into when it comes to law firm billing, including:
- Poor Cash Flow (delayed payments)
- Poor invoice scheduling (not sent out promptly)
- Incomplete understanding of expenses/write-offs
- Mathematical or accounting errors/typos
- Insufficient time to manage administrative and bookkeeping tasks.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to focus on your law firm’s billing practices.
- Be transparent from the get-go. Whether your services focus on family or employment law, your clients will likely know how much they should (or can) spend when they inquire about your services. While this varies from practice to practice, typical attorney fees usually range from $100 an hour to $400 an hour. However, you must be as transparent as possible about your fees and billing practices ahead of time – especially if you want to receive payment quickly.
- Put together a billing schedule. Developing a billing schedule with your clients is another great way to ensure you receive speedy payments. For example, you should let them know ahead of time when you will be sending out payment requests and how long they will have to pay upon receipt of the invoice. Most companies request that payments are received within 30 days.
- Accept multiple payment methods. Another great way to improve your law firm’s billing practices is by making it easier for your customers to pay you. The easiest way to do this is to diversify your payment methods – allowing for both online payments and more traditional methods such as cheques. According to a recent study from the Wordplay Global Payments Report, the preferred payment methods are currently eWallets (36%), credit cards (23%), and debit cards (12%).
- Put together a template for your invoices. Invoices might seem complicated – but they don’t have to be. You can save yourself and your team a great deal of time by putting together a simple invoice template. This way, you only need to change the final amount/billed hours for each client. However, some sites, such as PayPal, can do this for you automatically.