Category Archives: Technology

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Billable Hours Only Pay Off When You Actually Get Paid

One of the most frustrating experiences as an attorney is when your client refuses to pay. You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears (or at least a significant amount of brain power) into their work, and now you’re not going to reap the reward. While there’s no way to 100% ensure that you get paid for the work you do as an attorney, there are ways to improve your billing efficiency and make your clients feel more inclined to pay their bills, so you don’t end up getting stiffed.

#1 Set expectations ahead of time
It’s in everyone’s best interest to discuss the fee arrangement with the client before you start the case, and especially before you send any bills. Make sure your client has a complete understanding of what you will charge for your services, and put the fee agreement in writing, even if your jurisdiction does not require a written engagement agreement. You and the client both can refer to the document if there are ever misunderstandings about the bill.

#2 Provide clear & detailed invoices
Provide detail, but make it simple. The bill should be easy for the client to understand, but it should also adequately convey the legal services you performed. Don’t use shorthand or abbreviations that the client may not know or understand.

And the description areas for time entries exist for a reason – use them! Let the client know specifically what tasks were performed on their behalf. It may even be a good idea to walk your client through the first bill, so they fully understand what they are charged for. Explain each individual charge and the work that was completed, and make sure to answer any questions that arise.

#3 Keep fees reasonable
If your hourly fee is considered appropriate, but a lack of legal experience results in your spending an excessive amount of time on a routine task, the amount you ultimately bill will not be appropriate after all. Or if you worked on a document and then had to revise it because you discovered a fundamental error, clients won’t want to pay for that extra time.

Clients are paying for you to get it right, efficiently, the first time. With that in mind, include all of your work in the invoice (so that the client knows exactly what you have worked on), but make a note by any excessive time to let the client know that they won’t be charged for that time.

#4 Make getting paid easy with legal technology
As always (or at least, almost always), technology is your friend. Software specifically designed for lawyers will help streamline billing processes and make your life – and your clients’ lives – a lot easier.

We can’t strong-arm your clients into paying their bills, but we can provide you with simple and effective software for billing those clients. Start with a free trial of JurisDOC’s document automation and client invoicing software and start reaping the rewards today. Find your free trial at https://www.jurisdocpro.com/download.


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Build or Buy? How to Choose Legal Document Assembly Software

One reason some law firms hesitate to start using document assembly software is because they don’t fully understand how it works. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?

The problem with this thinking is that you end up missing out on an easy way to save money and make your processes more efficient—and achieve the golden goose of fewer hours spent on paperwork, more hours spent on billable work. There’s a reason Richard Susskind named document assembly as one of ten disruptive technologies altering the face of the legal profession—it really works! Here’s how:

Created in the late 1970s, document assembly software has only recently really started catching on with lawyers. It automates the creation of legal documents that are used repeatedly, like wills, leases, contracts and letters. The goal is to replace the time-consuming and repetitive manual completing (read “copying and pasting”) of documents with a template-based system. After you select a template, the software asks a series of questions and uses your answers to populate the template and provide you with a finished document, thereby saving you time on document preparation.

Seth Rowland and Rose Rowland, of legal technology consultancy Basha Systems, LCC, divide document assembly software into two categories: Buy and Build.

With “buy” software, a system of pre-crafted legal documents gives you the ability to select a document, answer a series of questions, and produce a finished document in less than 15 minutes. These systems make document preparation about as fast and simple as it can get.

“Build” software offers a do-it-yourself approach. You build your own automated templates, using your own words, your own rules and your own intake forms. Some systems allow you to build templates on your desktop, while others are web-based solutions. Build systems require more time initially but offer an excellent option if you prefer to customize language in documents.

The kind of document assembly software that will work best for your firm depends on your preferences, but rest assured you will find software available that will work for you and can be customized to fit your exact needs.

If you’re interested in testing the waters before committing, start with a free trial of JurisDOC software, and see how it can be useful in your practice—saving time and turning that time into money. Find your free trial at https://www.jurisdocpro.com/download.


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Apps & Automation: Is Your Law Firm Taking Advantage of Tech Trends

To remain competitive in today’s business environment, law firms need to be aware of the technology trends impacting the field and understand how to leverage these trends to maximize their productivity and profits. These are some of the current trends in the field:

E-Discovery: Predictive Coding
Predictive coding is changing e-discovery document review by making it easier than ever to identify relevant and privileged documents. Combining e-discovery software with artificial intelligence (AI), predictive coding finds and ranks relevant documents, so you save time on manual review and substantially decrease the amount of money spent on e-discovery.

Digital Legal Libraries
Most legal books will soon be available as apps, which are available at lower prices. With legal book apps, you no longer have to worry about compatibility or download another e-book viewer. You can rent these books from online stores or from the publisher’s site for a specific price and period of time (after which, it will expire). Many legal publishers are already taking steps toward this model, and its popularity and availability is expected to increase.

Cloud Computing
Cloud based computing is becoming the norm. Cloud providers are strengthening their security measures and providing specialized protections for sensitive information, so you can let go of your regulatory worries and concerns about data security. It’s time to embrace the cloud.

Social Media
As social media marketing continues its upward trajectory in the legal world, it’s time to hop on the bandwagon if you haven’t already. If you think that social media is only for teens and “friends,” reconsider: You can use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other social media to demonstrate expertise, build a following, develop relationships, and generate more exposure for your business.

Document Automation Software
Document automation software plays a critical role in providing legal services in an efficient and effective manner. By automating the creation of legal documents that are used repeatedly, you can avoid the hassle of finding the right form to use and cutting/pasting the same information over and over again. You save time, increase consistency across staff members, and increase your billable hours.

Taking advantage of the legal technology that’s out there will help ensure your business’ success. JurisDOC can help your practice run more smoothly with our legal document assembly software that makes it easier and faster for law firms to generate pleadings and other legal documents.

Now is the time to invest in document automation. Start with free use of JurisDOC, and see how it can be useful in your practice—saving time and turning that time into money. Find your free trial at https://www.jurisdocpro.com/download.


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The ROI of Document Automation

Ever heard the saying sometimes you have to spend money in order to make money? In the case of document software, this couldn’t be more accurate. Yes, you’ll have to spend some money on the software, but what you end up saving as a result makes the software worth more than its weight in gold.

When used consistently, document assembly software can save an attorney 15-30 minutes, or more, each day. Time that could be spent on work that you can bill your client. Those minutes may not sound like much, but 30 minutes per day—every day—start to add up. Consider:

30 minutes/day x 5 days/week= 150 minutes per
150 minutes/week x 48 weeks/year= 120 hours per year

Let’s say you’ve got an attorney making $200/hr.

120 hours/year x $200/hr= $24,000 per year

$24,000 per year! And that’s just one attorney. Think about how much money your firm makes if every attorney in your office saves that much money each year! You have the potential to generate the equivalent of one or two full-time staff members. Isn’t that worth it?

Now is the time to invest in document automation. Start with free use of JurisDOC software, and see how it can be useful in your practice—saving time and turning that time into money. Find your free trial at https://www.jurisdocpro.com/download.


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Making the Case for Document Automation

Automate, automate, automate! We’ve all heard it numerous times. As an attorney, it’s difficult to escape that word these days, especially when it comes to document assembly and creation. The knee-jerk reaction may be to say “I’ve gone without automation software all these years and have been doing just fine, thanks.” But there are legitimate reasons why you should consider hopping on the automation bandwagon.

Standardization
Chances are, you or your staff prepares the same types of pleadings or documents over and over again, with minor changes, in the same types of cases. It might feel more comfortable to personally craft the words in each document because we can ensure they’re perfect.

With customizable software like JurisDOC, you have access to thousands of alternate clauses as well as the ability to edit each document. This means you can customize your documents, while at the same time, increase consistency across staff members. When changes need to be made, all relevant documents can be updated accordingly and made available to staff members, so everyone is using the most current and relevant documents, and error is minimized.

Save Time
Let’s be honest—crafting legal documents is a time-sucker. When you create these documents yourself, time gets wasted trying to find the right form to use. More valuable time gets spent as you repeatedly copy and paste the same information to the numerous forms required throughout each case.

With document assembly software, you don’t have to worry about any of that. In the case of JurisDOC, the right forms are easily accessible in an extensive database covering numerous areas of law, and with over 2,000 alternate clauses at your fingertips, little to no copying and pasting is necessary. If used consistently, document assembly software can save you 15-30 minutes, or more, each day.

Increase billable hours and monthly income
With that kind of time saved each day, you’ll get 6-10 additional billable hours each month, which translates to increased income. The question now is not whether you can afford it—but whether you can afford to be without it.

Stop wondering about how legal document automation can help you and find out—at no risk or cost. Download a free trial of our software and see how JurisDOC can help you spend less time assembling documents and more time practicing law. Get started today at https://www.jurisdocpro.com/download and try it free.


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