Your legal invoice is a major touch point with your clients for the brand of your small law practice. It conveys not only your level of professionalism but also how clearly you communicate and manage your clients’ expectations. Does your legal invoice software represent who you are?
There are a few basics that you should be including in all invoices to give confidence to your clients that you care about the details of their cases as much as you care about how you present yourself to the world.
If you don’t have a logo on your legal billing template, then be sure to include your name and all contact points.
If you are working on retainer, posting the trust balance on the invoice keeps the economics of your work front and center. You may think that showing a balance to your clients would cause them alarm, but actually, keeping them up to date with their economic relationship with you makes for more fluid transactions.
Detailed Accounting of Services Performed
As legal services are becoming more automated, lawyers need to justify their work – to show that their legal expertise cannot be matched by a robot. Especially if a client is spending hundreds or thousands of dollars with you, you can set them more at ease by giving detail of each task, rather than putting in a line item with no description.
A few more strategies to impress your clients and get paid more quickly:
Keep Accurate Time
The sooner you enter your time once a task has been completed, the more accurate it will be. Even a day later and you could lose 10% of your time, just through your faulty memory in a multi-tasking world. Accurate timekeeping, along with a detailed description of what work you did, will create a better understanding for your client and contribute to the trust that is crucial for a client/lawyer relationship. Your client will know (or at least suspect) if you are fudging.
Send Legal Invoices in a Timely Manner
If you don’t send out your invoices until a month or two after you performed the work, chances are that your memory has faded and your client will want an explanation. That takes time and you’ll probably have to make some of it up, since it is so far in the past by this point. If you send out your invoices late, that also sends a message to your client that you don’t value being paid promptly.
Give Clients the Opportunity to Pay Online
If you need to take out a checkbook to pay someone, how much slower will you do that compared to clicking a button connected to online payment that’s right there on the screen in front of you? There are many invoicing / accounting softwares that offer online payment. LeanLaw likes QuickBooks Online especially because the Intuit Payment Network is an inexpensive and convenient solution for the attorney. When your client sets up the payment the first time, they never need to do it again. You will be paid faster than a check, guaranteed.
Do you have any strategies that you work into your legal invoices? Let us know in the comments.
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