4 Billing Issues Legal Experts Make That You Need to Avoid
Although legal professionals do their best to provide flawless services, they are only humans. They still commit some mistakes, and unfortunately for their clients, some of these mistakes translate to billing issues that can cost the client. Knowing this, educating yourself about the common billing mistakes is vital to ensure your practice does not run into these billing problems. Otherwise, you may end up overbilling or even underbilling clients, hurting your business as a whole.
With that being said, here are the common billing issues legal experts may make that you need to be aware of.
Duplicating time entries
It is not rare for law firms to have multiple personnel participate in the same activity all at once. Unfortunately, this might lead to duplicate time entries which means more fees for clients. To clients aware of this, such duplicate entries are red flags to them, and they may refuse to pay for some or all of the fees until an investigation can justify the situation. Avoid duplicate billing if not necessary, and always be sure your decision is backed up with solid reasons.
Inflating or padding time
For efficient workers, it is common that the time spent doing something is inflated to fit the firms’ requirements. This, of course, does not bode well for the firm and can lead to scrutiny by an auditor. These activities can hurt the firm’s reputation and demotivate clients. For your firm, ensure that all time is recorded accurately, and that the bill reflects the complexity and importance of the task.
Billing tasks in large blocks
When law firms face multiple tasks, they might be tempted to bill everything in large blocks by individualizing each task. This is a big no-no for clients, as they want to know what led to the given bills. To avoid this problem, it is important to itemize each task separately when you bill your tasks. This will allow you and your clients to understand better why bills are the way they are based on the time spent, importance, and complexity of any given task.
Not delegating the tasks properly
It is possible to delegate tasks to the wrong people. For example, an easy-to-do task might be given to an expensive staff member, leading to higher bills for what was supposed to be a cheaper activity. This includes things like asking a senior partner to file documents and the like, which clients do not like. Make sure that when you delegate tasks, you are delegating to the appropriate staff member. This will allow everyone to maximize their efforts without incurring extra fees for your clients.
All of the issues above are the things you need to avoid as a law firm. You never want to overbill your clients, let alone underbill them. It can destroy your reputation as a trustworthy and professional law firm, hurting your business and even possibly leading to failure. Always exert effort to do things right, including individualizing each billable task, avoiding padding time to fit unrealistic requirements, and duplicating entries. This will ensure your clients are justifiably billed and keep them happy.
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