The rules for invoicing are relatively simple — you need to be professional, diligent, specific, and accurate. Aside from reducing disagreements over fees and client dissatisfaction, proper invoicing could likewise help you shine.
How? Generally speaking, paralegals and other legal staff are assessed by the number of hours they work, and clients and supervising lawyers would be more pleased with workers who keep accurate time.
To help ensure your invoicing is always on point, consider these practical tips from The Center For Legal Studies, one of the top paralegal schools in the country:
1. Write accurate time entries
The descriptions of all billable hours in your timesheets would be indicated verbatim on your invoices, so your descriptions must be as specific and detailed as possible.
For instance, instead of writing down “research,” indicate the particular area of law or authority you researched. Whenever possible, spell out every little relevant thing and use the present tense for conveying actions.
2. Include stop times or interruptions
Meetings, calls, and new tasks could pop up while you’re doing a task, and it’s crucial that you write these down so your client would know exactly why and when you stopped during a task.
3. Keep accurate records of all your tasks
Write every task as you finish them and make sure to cite what the task is, why you did it, and all relevant people involved in the task. Consider creating a list of abbreviations and work codes to make record keeping easier.
4. Leverage proper supplies and equipment
While old school black time sheets are still very useful, you could likewise consider using invoicing software to automate your tasks and help keep records for you.
Put simply, proper billing all comes down to sending prompt and detailed invoices that clearly show the value of your work. And always keep in mind that you need to be extra specific on tasks that you spent a lot of time on.
Think of your time as actual money. Your clients need to see results and content, and they won’t contest your invoice if they know exactly what they’re paying you for.