A lawyer’s invoice, also known as an attorney’s invoice or a legal service invoice, is a bill that lists the services that a lawyer or a legal office has rendered to a client and a statement of the total sum due for these that must be paid. Is it mandatory to send an invoice? Yes, it is–especially for professionals like attorneys. It ensures that all billable hours and other expenses are tracked and that these fees are properly paid for.
For many lawyers, managing invoices can be a drag on top of performing their daily duties. To simplify this part of the job, it’s best to use a law firm invoice template from Invoice Ninja. This helps you streamline and automate your billing process, ensuring that all your services are accurately billed and all your statements are paid on time.
How Do Lawyers Bill Clients?
Most attorneys bill clients by hours worked. But this can be tedious to track, so other firms have explored alternative billing structures. Here are some of the common ways in which lawyers bill clients:
Simply put, billable hours refer to all the time an attorney spends working on a case. This typically includes drafting documents, researching, strategizing, communicating with clients, and attending hearings or meetings. Billable hours are generally tracked in different increments, usually in six-minute intervals, which are measured and noted on a dashboard of a lawyer’s computer.
A flat-rate fee is a pre-arranged price that a client pays regardless of the amount of time spent on a matter or a case. This is great for clients who want certainty and consistency in their payments, but it’s important for the charging lawyer to properly estimate the work required so that you don’t set the fee too low.
Under a subscription, clients can get legal aid as needed for a set monthly fee. This is often the best option for small businesses that need advice on matters relating to their operations (e.g. business law, intellectual property, etc.). It’s also beneficial for the law firm because it guarantees regular and predictable income.
A contingency fee is a payment arrangement usually offered to individuals who are unable to pay out of pocket for representation. Under this structure, the client only pays if the case is won, and they only give a percentage of the overall award.
A sliding scale fee considers a client’s financial situation and adjusts the rates they need to pay accordingly. This is an optimal structure for lawyers and firms just starting and would like to bring in new clients.
How Do I Make a Lawyer’s Invoice?
Whatever billing structure you follow, you must know how to properly invoice your services. The billing process starts when you bring on a new client and open a case. From here, you can discuss the financial arrangements, including how you’re charging for services and the payment terms.
Once a contract is signed, you start with the work, logging all billable time, disbursement fees, and expenses throughout the case. At the end of the month (or the case), the bill is put into a draft, where lawyers add notes and adjust costs before approving the bill.
When the invoice is finalized, it’s sent to the client for payment via whatever methods are accepted at the firm. If needed, you may send follow-ups regarding late payments.
What Are the Types of Lawyer’s Invoices?
Invoices vary by firm, and there are different types that lawyers can use for their billing purposes. Here’s a breakdown of each format and its differences:
Large law firms or attorneys who work on long-term cases usually employ recurring invoices that are sent at regular intervals. This improves cash flow and ensures that services per month are properly compensated.
Freelance legal consultants who work on small projects or only provide simple advice to their clients on a one-off basis typically use standalone invoices. These are issued as soon as a service has been provided.
Interim invoices are another form of billing that’s often used in long-term cases. Through these, lawyers can collect partial payment for work done until a certain point of the project.
A prepaid invoice collects an upfront deposit before a service is provided. This provides extra insurance for the legal firm that could help with expenses for when the case starts.
Make Invoicing for Lawyers Easier With Invoice Ninja
With Invoice Ninja, you can create, send, and manage invoices with ease. It makes the billing process more convenient, allowing you to focus on the more important legal tasks at hand while ensuring that you’re always paid accurately and on time for the services that you do. Try Invoice Ninja today!