An inevitable part of any law practice is tracking and billing time to clients. Approved bills ensure a steady and timely flow of income to the firm and if there are inaccuracies or other procedural hiccups in the time billing process, revenue is affected and eventually, the firm is placed at risk.
Today’s client is cost-conscious and tech savvy. Bills are examined closely and every line item should be detailed to ensure transparency and credibility. Time tracking then becomes paramount to the invoicing process and the goal is to create prompt, accurate and defensible precise time entries.
Rules of Professional Conduct regulate fees and fee arrangements. ABA RPC 1.5 state that fees charged must be reasonable for the services performed, based upon the factors set forth in the rules. ABA Rule 1.5 provides guidelines to determine the reasonableness of a fee. Therefore, refer to RPC 1.5 and to your state RPCs to ensure compliance.
Billing should always comply with terms of the fee agreements. Every fee agreement must include: the client’s identify (e.g.; entity, individual, officers, board or joint representation; scope of representation (e.g; broad or specific); and the fees and costs.
Time Tracking & Billing
The exact nature of your activities should be reflected in the descriptions of your time tracking entries so make sure to sufficiently detail your billable activities. Poor or unintelligible time records cost firms more than revenue—it costs time, trouble and impacts the client relationship. Insufficient or inaccurate descriptions may confuse clients, create doubt and may lead to misunderstandings.
Always strive to ensure your time entries are accurate, understandable and complete. Failure to keep good time records can be grounds for reducing or refusing an award of attorneys’ fees to a client. While detail may need to be redacted in a fee award application to preserve the firm’s confidential communications with clients, that doesn’t mean the initial entry should be minimal.
Bill4Time helps ensure ethical and prompt time tracking and billing. Bill4Time offers legal time billing software that was created for lawyers. You can track and record time through the online app, desktop or even through your mobile device. Running from one client to the next? No worry. Bil4Time offers iOs, Android and Blackberry mobile time billing apps that ensures every minute is accounted for and recorded.
We help you track and record every minute because time really is money. Get started today.