Recommendations: Sorts listings by the number of recommendations our advisors have made over the past 30 days. Our advisors assess buyers’ needs for free and only recommend products that meet buyers’ needs. Vendors pay Software Advice for these referrals. Reviews: Sorts listings by the number of user reviews we have published, greatest to least. Sponsored: Sorts listings by software vendors running active bidding campaigns, from the highest to lowest bid. Vendors who have paid for placement have a ‘Visit Website’ button, whereas unpaid vendors have a ‘Learn More’ button. Avg Rating: Sorts listings by overall star rating based on user reviews, highest to lowest. A to Z: Sorts listings by product name from A to Z.
App4Legal is a comprehensive Suite of Law Practice Management Software & Contract Lifecycle Management Software available for Legal teams of any size in both law-firms and in-house.
It is modular, enterprise, secure, multi-langua...Read more
MyCase is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps attorneys in small to medium size law firms manage communications with their clients and carry out daily business operations. The solution also provides functionalities ...Read more
Coyote Analytics is an all-inclusive legal management suite created exclusively for law firms in any specialty. In addition to its robust accounting module, the program can help any firm stay organized through extensive features....Read more
Actionstep is a cloud-based legal practice management solution designed for growing and midsize firms. The integrated solution offers tools for managing cases, billing, invoicing and accounting as well as enables businesses to aut...Read more
Expert Sierra is a cloud-based legal practice management solution designed to help mid to large-sized law firms assemble, store and manage financial data of cases. Key features include billing, time tracking, team collaboration, t...Read more
Rocket Matter is a cloud-based legal billing and management solution designed to cater small and midsize law practices. It features time and billing management, calendar, document management, payments and collaboration management ...Read more
Centerbase is the leading cloud-based legal accounting, billing and practice management application for mid-sized firms in any practice area. By integrating GL accounting, law firm billing and practice management into a single sys...Read more
LegalTrek is a legal practice management solution designed for midsize law firms and legal departments. Key features include office management, time tracking and schedule management.
The solution offers a centralized document...Read more
HoudiniEsq is a hybrid law practice management solution that caters to law practices of all sizes and provides them the functionalities to manage various business routines which include cases, billing, invoicing and several other ...Read more
LEAP is a cloud practice management software for small law firms, providing case management, time recording, billing, document automation, and trust accounting, across all your devices for one license fee.
LEAP also provides tho...Read more
AbacusLaw is case automation software designed explicitly for law firms. The system works as a complete practice management solution that helps in managing workflows including time tracking, billing, and accounting operations. Aba...Read more
CosmoLex is a comprehensive legal management software designed for smaller and solo firms. It offers integrated features to manage all aspects of a practice: document management, case management, time tracking, and calendaring....Read more
Firm Central by Thomson Reuters is a cloud-based legal management solution. It features matter management, time and billing, scheduling and document assembly.
All Firm Central packages offer client, matter, document and task ...Read more
TimeSolv is a cloud-based legal time tracking and billing solution that caters to law firms, accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations.
TimeSolv integrates project ma...Read more
PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to large practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy, personal injury, family, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The ...Read more
LeanLaw is a cloud-based timekeeping and billing solution for small to midsize legal practices. Key features include time tracking, billing and invoicing, financial reporting and Quickbooks integration. A free mobile app is also a...Read more
Smokeball is a complete cloud-based legal productivity software to automatically record time for you, allowing you to increase your firm’s profitability and productivity by over 30%. Whether you bill hourly, fixed fee, or on conti...Read more
BQE Core makes it easier and more profitable to run your business. It organizes information, automates repetitive tasks and allows your firm to spend more time providing service to your clients instead of managing internal process...Read more
Zola Suite is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for law firms of all sizes. Key features include task management, built-in email, document management, client portals, calendar, contact management, automation, report...Read more
dealcloser is a cloud-based legal transaction processing solution designed for corporate lawyers. It helps law firms to process transactions, manage deals and handle administrative tasks.
dealcloser provides a Dynamic Closing...Read more
Legal billing software is any technology that enables lawyers and law firms to track consulting time and receive payment for their services. These systems offer capabilities like time tracking, invoicing, and accounting.
Tracking billable hours using paper-based methods, or even spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, can be tedious and time-consuming. What’s worse, these methods create lots of potential for human error. Even after you’ve calculated billable hours, you’ll still need to generate invoices and stay on top of client accounts.
Accurate tracking of billable hours ensures a steady flow of revenue for your law firm or private practice. To automate the billing process and make sure billable time isn’t slipping through the cracks, you’ll need dedicated legal billing software. There are many different types of software that can streamline time tracking and billing for lawyers and legal departments. This guide will help you understand the major categories and features.
Best-of-Breed Options vs. Practice Management Suites
Because billing is foundational to a law office’s operations, there are a number of stand-alone solutions on the market. Time tracking and billing modules are also integrated into more comprehensive practice management software suites. A practice management suite is a single system that manages all areas of your law practice.
If you need extensive case management, document management or contact management functionality in addition to time tracking and billing, you should definitely look into practice management suites. Some suites even integrate time tracking capabilities throughout the system’s modules. For example, you can track time in a document management module without having to use a timer.
If all you need is a better way to track billable hours, look into the many stand-alone solutions on the market created for this purpose.
Common Functionality of Legal Billing Software
Functionality of legal billing software can be divided into three categories: time tracking; bill preparation and payment; and general ledger.
Time Tracking Functionality
Calendar may be included, or software may integrate with a calendar application (e.g., Microsoft Outlook). Events created in your calendar can automatically feed into calculations of billable hours. In some systems, calendar information can be used to fill in gaps in billable time.
Multiple fee schedules/billing arrangements
Allows users to bill time in hourly, contingency, transactional, user-defined, flat fee (monthly, annual or user-defined), retainer fee and split fee increments.
Billing rates by timekeeper level
Allows users to bill by timekeeper level: e.g., individual attorney, partner, associate, practice area type and client levels. Primarily used by larger firms.
Automated time capture
Draws on calendar data, documents and tasks to fill in gaps in your billable time.
Users can set timers to track each minute of billable time.
Allows users to assign activity codes to billable time, including the codes established by the American Bar Association (ABA). Users can also define their own codes.
Allows users to track expenses associated with clients’ accounts.
Missing time reporting
Allows the system to report on gaps in your billable time.
Bill Preparation and Payment Functionality
Automatically generates client invoices based on the billable time recorded in the system. Bills can be delivered via email, or electronically in Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) format.
Customizable invoice templates
Allows users to customize invoices with their firm’s logo.
Past due notices
Automatically notifies clients when bills are past due. Some systems can also calculate late fees automatically.
Low retainer reminders
Sends automatic notices when clients’ retainer fees are getting low.
Credit card processing and EFT
Some systems allow users to accept credit card payments. Other systems allow for electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments via automated clearing house (ACH) processing as well as PayPal gateways.
General Ledger Functionality
Client account balances
Users can record invoices and payments and maintain account balances for all clients.
Automatically prepares IRS filings on the basis of information stored in the system.
Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Accounting
IOLTA, which helps raise money for legal aid for those in poverty via interest earned on client funds, entails special accounting requirements that you can manage with your software. The software protects against accounting mistakes and automatically records paper trails in case of an audit.
The system can automatically generate reports on information such as outstanding balances and client inactivity.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
The type of legal billing software you choose will depend, in part, on your specific needs as a buyer. For example:
Solo practitioner. If you have your own practice, you’ll really only need the most basic time-tracking capabilities. While features such as automatic time capture are obviously useful to all attorneys, they’re confined to expensive systems that might not be the best fit for solo practitioners.
Small firms. Small firms should think critically about whether to go with a stand-alone billing solution or a practice management system. If you have special accounting, mobile access and/or payment needs, you may need to invest in a more robust solution.
Large firms. Large firms will need extensive functionality for managing individual time-keepers and clients. Reporting features are also crucial for large firms to identify revenue opportunities. Finally, some legal billing systems include capabilities like those found in customer relationship management systems, which can be necessary for managing lots of clients.