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Want Automated Law Firm Billing Software? Here Are The 5 Best Solutions

Written by Gary Honold on . Posted in .
Home > Blog > Want Automated Law Firm Billing Software? Here Are The 5 Best Solutions

Key Takeaways:

  • Today’s law firms need efficiency in every area, including in managing their client billing.
  • Knowing how to choose the best law firm billing software is critical.
  • Options include stand-alone products as well as practice management tools that can help you improve your complete client management process and practice itself.
  • Optimizing your law firm’s finances is always a good idea, and with the help of Array Digital, we can ensure you’re getting the leads you need in the most robust marketing plan for your budget.

Managing billing for law firms can be an intricate and time-consuming process. With numerous clients, varying billing rates, and complex billing arrangements, it’s easy for law firms to get bogged down in administrative tasks.

Traditional billing methods, such as manual invoicing or using generic software not tailored to legal practices, often lead to errors, inefficiencies, and frustration among lawyers and clients.

Enter specialized legal billing software tailored specifically to the needs of law firms.

By adopting the right billing software, law firms significantly reduce administrative burdens, enhance transparency in billing practices, and improve client satisfaction. With more time and resources freed up, lawyers can focus on what matters most – delivering exceptional legal services and growing their practice.

What is legal billing software?

Legal billing software manages and automates the process of billing clients for the legal services provided. It may manage all aspects of billing workflow, enabling law firms to track their billable hours and accounts payable accurately at any given time.

The top benefits of billing software for law firms

Legal billing software presents numerous benefits to law firms who want to make the best use of their time. Some of the core benefits of legal professionals using this software include:

  • A comprehensive view of all billable hours: This includes what has been billed and what has not, how much each client owes, and the state of payments.
  • Templated and guide-developed invoices and processes for staff to follow: This ensures that all bills from the organization are easily recognized and contain all necessary information.
  • Standard dispute process for any concerns: There should also be a process in place to establish when collections occur and what happens.
  • A public billing policy is in place and effective: This ensures that any client has full understanding of the service and applicable costs.
  • Saves solo attorney and staff time and energy: That means the ability to spend time on other tasks within the law firm.

Some tools are more comprehensive, offering more robust features, enhanced overall performance through analysis and metrics, and calendar inclusion.

Why legal billing software is essential for small law firms

From time tracking to ensuring clarity on pricing and time spent, small law firms benefit from the inclusion of legal billing software. This type of tool can also be built into your accounting software, allowing your tax professional to easily gather the necessary information.

Looking beyond this, the benefits of legal billing software for small firms are numerous:

  • Reduction in billing errors that frustrate clients and cause slowdowns in operations
  • Save time and resources by letting the software automate a variety of tasks
  • More oversight into billing also leads to better cash flow within the legal firm
  • Data-driven decision-making becomes possible, enabling organizations to monitor costs as well as determine how profitable the organization is
  • Improve client experiences by facilitating services like cloud-based account management and online billing
  • More accurate expense tracking for companies, ensuring better pricing strategies
  • A streamlined billing process means fewer costly errors, especially with compliance matters.

Depending on the functionality and how customizable this software is, it can enhance case management by integrating right into your current software programs. That means you have better access to valuable information no matter what client account you’re looking at within your law practice.

How do law firm billing software systems handle trust accounting and client funds?

With numerous integrations and exceptional ways to manage billable time, you may wonder when and how you can apply practice management software (and the billing software it offers) to your law firm’s daily operations. Key concerns often include trust accounting and client funds management.

How legal billing software handles trust client accounting

Trust accounting software is available, and it can be integrated into a larger practice management software program or work alongside billable software. If you deal with a client trust account on any level, this type of software is a critical investment because it can:

  • Prevent misappropriation of account funds
  • Ensure the creation of an audit paper trail
  • Create reports to track all transactions

How legal billing software handles client funds

For those that manage client funds for any other purpose, from escrow to disbursement of funds for settlements, legal billing software can be critical because it can:

  • Create a paper trail to track all expenses and transactions
  • Provide a way to have real-time access to current account balances and features
  • Create clear compliance for all aspects of client funds management

Best legal billing software

table discussing the different softwares available to law firms

To simplify your billing hours, enhance timekeeping, and even take online payments – or meet other obligations – check out these tools. These are some of the best tools with ample billing features and specifications to meet the unique needs of law firms.

Clio

As one of the best full-service law firm billing tools, Clio is a reliable option. There are a few key benefits here, including that it is a full practice management software product that gives you what you need no mater the size or structure of your practice. It’s also a nice tool when you want to scale over time. It includes document management, online payments, client intake, and relationship management tools.

Price: $49 per month

Pros:

  • Accounting integration with Xero and QuickBooks
  • Online payment options
  • Use it for legal trust accounting, including IOLTA tracking

Excellent for a fully legal practice management tool (it gives you just about everything you need for financial reporting and more).

Cons:

  • Best for smaller firms with limited users (you’ll pay more for added users)
  • You’ll pay more to get some of the automated features in law practice management

Smokeball

Another excellent tool that blends a cloud-based law firm practice management tool with easy access on your desktop is Smokeball. It offers a range of automation features, and depending on your firm’s needs, you can integrate it directly with Microsoft Office and Outlook products. It also offers a huge suite of integrations, including InfoTrack, Zapier, and QuickBooks.

Price: $39 a month

Pros:

  • Document automation capabilities
  • The trust accounting features are more extensive.
  • The on-premise option is a good choice for those who want local management.

Cons:

  • Does not integrate with Google as easily
  • The initial setup process should happen with the organization’s support (it’s more complicated than others — though it is then easy to learn)
  • Doesn’t offer the same customer relationship management as other products

LawPay and MyCase

The combination of LawPay and MyCase is another stellar option for law firms looking for an easy-to-use, easy-to-learn tool. It offers a comprehensive form intake program with case management and billing. Also, when you invest in the two together, MyCase customers do not pay a LawPay monthly fee as long as they maintain both.

Price: LawPay: $19 a month; MyCase $39 a month

Pros:

  • Comprehensive integration
  • Google management features
  • Easy to use overall, especially for smaller firms

Cons:

  • The combination saves money but doesn’t offer all the features you need for full practice management
  • Limited integration with tools like Integromat or Zapier

Rocket Matter

As a productivity-focused law practice management software system, Rocket Matter has a design to help you build your firm over time to be more efficient without jeopardizing the way you want to run it. It has a lot of fantastic features, including integrations for most of the tools you may already be using. It is also a part of the ProfitSolv family of products, which means there have been ample upgrades over time.

Price: $39 per month

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use client portal to help improve communication
  • Project management tools keep you on task
  • Lots of integrations, including with Dropbox, Google Calendar, LexCharge, Lawmatics, and Microsoft 365

Cons:

  • The document management features of Rocket Matter are less robust than others.
  • Client intake is not as customized as some would prefer.
  • You will need to use simplified templates in various applications.

QuickBooks online for law firms

If you want to streamline your law firm practice management and accounts receivable, QuickBooks is a good option overall. Keep in mind that QuickBooks is very accounting-management focused, which means it offers a solid billing system and a plethora of accounting guidance and customer support. Your accountant will appreciate it. Known for its ability to support small businesses, this can be a viable option for firms of all sizes, depending on the integrations selected.

Price: $90 per month

Pros:

  • Overall good integration options for most applications you are likely using
  • HR resources are a component that is beneficial for large firms.
  • Accountants know how to easily utilize QuickBooks, so the learning curve for them is lower.

Cons:

  • It’s not easy to learn and takes time to master overall.
  • It’s not built specifically for lawyers or as case management software (making it best as a sole billing solution).
  • It can offer features like reporting on profitability and tracking time but isn’t as robust in these areas as other tools.

How to choose the best legal billing software

When considering the strategies best suited for your law firm billing, you should adapt numerous factors based on how you operate your business.

First, ensure that any tool you are using is for law firm accounting. For example, most attorneys use the LEDES format (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard) as a standardized invoice format. If you use this, you need to ensure it meets your needs.

More so, determine if you want solely a billing tool — which could allow for just completing invoice templates — or a full management solution with everything from a management system that incorporates task management and messaging. If you are already using another management system, look for a tool that gives you robust features to enhance its functionality.

Some things to consider include:

  • How well the new billing software works with any legal management software already in place
  • Features offered that fit with the way you operate your practice, such as offering a flat fee or hourly billing, as well as tools for managing late payments, e-billing (including credit card payments), and mobile app integration
  • Integration features with accounting systems you are using, including Xero and QuickBooks (you need to ensure any  legal billing software can link to third-party apps for attorney compensation reports, client reports, reconciliation of expenses and billable hours, and IOLTA accounting
  • Security is an essential component of the entire process, which may include end-to-end encryption, defense against malware attacks, data breaches, and multi-factor authentication

As you compare the options available, focus on these areas specifically:

  • The cost (is it monthly or a one-time fee)
  • What features do you need that cost more?
  • Does it integrate with your current software, including all of your Android, Google, and Apple tools?
  • Is it easy to use, including in areas like LEDES billing (especially if you are a solo practitioner who handles this on your own) and time entries?
  • Does it meet any requirements set by the American Bar Association (ABA) in terms of security and privacy management?

Give your law firm a voice in a saturated market

As you consider these software solutions and how well they can meet your needs, think about other ways to increase your firm’s overall success and efficiency. For example, discover what Array Digital can do for you. Our team can help you manage your website design and digital marketing needs by providing unparalleled experience, expertise, and credibility in the field. The bottom line is that we know the complexities attorneys face and know how to make the best of your marketing dollars to achieve your goals.

Testimonials

“Kevin and his team at Array Digital are true professionals and really know what they are doing.  I highly recommend working with Kevin and his company.  Also, check his podcast out, as it is a great resource for all types of attorneys.” –Ben L.

 “The entire team at Array Digital is amazing! They are incredibly knowledgeable and very quick to respond to their client’s needs or concerns.  If you are looking for a professional team to handle your website, I definitely recommend them!” –Donna T.

Let’s grow together

Your law firm is looking for ways to optimize and work more efficiently, and you shouldn’t ignore the opportunities to do that using our team at Array Digital. We can help you optimize your online presence, generate leads more efficiently, and enhance your brand visibility, helping you grow your law firm practice daily.

Tap into the services that we bring to the table, including providing tangible results in the unpredictable marketplace. Call Array Digital now at 757-333-3021 to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do law firms use QuickBooks?

QuickBooks is one of numerous options that you can use to manage your client billing and payment processing. Other tools can integrate better into other components of your firm, providing more comprehensive firm management.

How do law firms track billable hours?

Even if you operate on retainers, tracking billable hours is a core component of managing your fees and ensuring you are spending your hours wisely. Many of these software solutions have built-in timers that will allow you to track how often you work for a specific client. For hourly rates and client billing that’s integrated like this, look for robust features in the billing tool you select (some of the best options will make it possible to not only track hours but also monitor them. That way, you can see where you are spending more or less time and how to enhance or streamline your efforts).

How does time tracking and billing software for law firms work?

Law firms usually charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. In all cases, they need to track their time to ensure they use it wisely and charge their clients appropriately. A cloud-based billing software can make this easy to do by allowing you to note when you start working on one project or task for a client and when you switch to another. Some of the best software solutions operate like this in real-time automated time tracking, which means no more manually logging every minute of the work you do.

Some programs will automate the billing transfers once you complete a project or are ready to bill. Your data is stored in a centralized location so that it can transfer logged hours to the billing system and automatically help with invoice creation. Choosing a tool that provides this automation is typically beneficial because it reduces errors, saves time, and limits your manual tasks.

If you do not choose a system that offers this type of automation, you can use time-tracking apps and tools to track your time and then manually update this information in the billing software. Some products integrate well and make this rather streamlined.

Written By Gary Honold
I am a digital marketer and SEO manager with 30+ years’ experience driving web traffic, leads, and conversions for clients in highly competitive markets.

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