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Session: 5 Effective Law Firm Billing Techniques #ABATECHSHOW

5 Effective Law Firm Billing Techniques

Steven Best and Peggy Gruenke presented an excellent session titled Bills in – Money out. The speakers opened by pointing out that calling up a client that’s late on bill is an unpleasant task.  From the speakers’ vantage point the best way to avoid that scenario is to manage expectations from the outset.  Here are five tips from their presentation that stood out for us:

1. Time a law firm’s “inventory.”

Even if a law firm doesn’t follow the billable hour model – a straw man poll of the audience indicated a trend for flat fees – it should account for time is spent on tasks. The purpose is to have a baseline for evaluating how the team is spending it’s time and a path to process improvement and what the speakers called “non-accidental success.”

Nothing falls in value like services already rendered

2. Make bills easy to read.

Nothing falls in value like services already rendered, so it’s important to get invoices out on a schedule and make the bills easy to read. Clients should be able to understand the value delivered and the associated cost at a glance. We’d add that even billing is a chance to do good law firm marketing.

3. Worth the credit?

Should a law firm accept credit cards? After all credit processing costs money.  The speakers point out that in many cases, credit processing is a cost of business and another way to look at a $30 fee on a $1,000 bill is that it puts $970 in a bank account sooner rather than later.  In addition, if local bar association rules permit, tacking on a 3% charge to an invoice for accepting a credit card is one technique for mitigating the expense.

4. In the interest of interest.

Several members of the audience noticeably cringed when the speakers brought up the topic of charging interest on overdue accounts. However, by tacking on interest, the law firms gains negotiation leverage to cut that interest, rather than discount the core service, as an incentive for payment.

5. Are flat fees the future?

The speakers were optimistic about flat fees and argued the flat fee model shifts the focus from hours billed to work flow and execution.  Flat fees simplify the budgeting and billing process and provided these value propositions:  predictable, transparent, shared risk, build trust.

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.


Effective time billing is very important for law firms. Using online solution Invoicera, helps us to manage tasks easily and bill more effectively.

The software allows you to track the billable time so that your firm can invoice it and get paid for it. Easily add tasks and assign those to different staff and projects and keep the track of work done by your staff.