Law Office Management Chapter 8-14

What are the four essential elements of the billing process?
Communication, Documentation, Regular and Frequent Billing, and Descriptive Bills
What is the most important aspect of the billing process?
Communication
This begins at inital client interview and continues throughout the attorney client relationship until the final bill is paid and the relationship is terminated
Comunication
Documenting all communication concerning fees and billing matters is important particurally if there is a fee dispute
Documentation
Billing should be frequent and regular. Monthly billing is the most common method of billing, clients prefer small monthly bills rather than large, infrequent bills
Regular and Frequent Billing
Bills should describe the services rendered in a brief concise manner
Descriptive bills
Charging a client for services rendered in one large block of time rather than itemizing the tasks performed
Block Billing
A bill prepared for an attorney’s review and consideration for adjustement before a final bill is prepared
Preliminary Bill
A form used by an attorney to increase or decrease a clients bill as appropriate
Fee adjustement Memorandum
What eight factors are considered by the ABA to determine a reasonable fee?
TOCATPET
Charging a client intrest on past due accounts is generally acceptable, however some states require a client’s consent to charge intrest, as a rule intrest is rarley collected
Intrest Charging
LAwyers often extend creedit to their clients, credits are extended to people who generally extended to people who generally have the ability to pay
Credit and Credit Cards
computrized billing systems, software packages are used
Billing system
When a percentage of the bill is given to the orginating or supervising attorney as compensation
Fee Allocation
A utility program that allows data to be transfered to a billing program by copier or telephone system for recovery of costs
Cost Recovery System
The percentage of the total amount billed by a time keeper that is actually received by the law firm as income
Realization Rate
What factors affect the relazation rate?
Nonbillable time, write ups, write downs, and write offs.
An increase in the amount owed because of a premium
Write up
An decrease in the amount owed because of a discount
Write down
A credit for the total amount
Write off
What are the goals of a firms billing process?
First is to make Profit, Second is to give back to the community
What does a firms profitibility depend on?
How you handle your resources aka the people who work for you
A letter summarizing the scope of representation and the fee agreement between a lawyer and a client
Engagement Letter
What is considered when a firm projects income?
Rent, Office Expenses, and Sallary
How do you calculate an expense percentage?
Various expenses divided by full income gives you this
What is the most common billing method?
Monthly
What does a firm consider when projecting income?
A firm considers the amount of time worked for existing clients and other variables to determine from new clients
What is the purpose of a trust account?
Purpose is serrogation of cash, keeping cash seperate of the clients and the law firms
Holds the clients money in trust so that law firms money does not interfere with clients money
Trust Funds
What is funded by IOLTA?
IOLTA funds legal services for indifent people through the funding of legal aid programs …
Using other clients funds until check clears the bandk
Check kiting
What is the purpose of a docket control system?
Keep all dates in one setting
A system that allows a law firm to schedule court hearings, depositions,m and other appearances and keep track of document due dates, filling deadlines, appoitments, and statue of limitations
Docket Control System
What does a docket control system consist of?
A calander that contains the schedule of each attorney
A calander that contains hearings and deposition dates for each attorney in a law firm
Master Calander
An individual calander that contains the same information as the master calander but also includes appoitment dates, follow up dates, deadlines so that the legal team will have enough time to prepare and complete the project on time
Personal calander
A system that is the method of controlling document dates and deadlines so that the legal team will have enough time to prepare and complete the project on time
Tickler System
What is considered when requiring the number of reminder dates in a tickler system?
You must first determine the due date
How frequently should files be reviewd?
Monthly
Whose responsibility is file maintance?
Paralegals responsibility
How are files categorized?
Function, Subject, Topic, Subtopic
Refers to wether a document or information is needed on a day to day basis
Operational value
Refers to wether a document or information is covered by statue of limitation
Legal value
Refers to whether a document or information has technical or procedural importance
Technical value
What is the U.S. Legal system based upon?
Both written and case law
How are laws categorized?
Cvil or Criminal
Rules created by an individual cour tthat apply in the court only
Primary Authority
Anything other than primay authority that aids a court in reaching its decision
Secondary Authority
A printed copy of judicial opinion that is distrubuted soon after a decision is rendered
A slip opinion
The process of storing information photographucally
Microform
Sheets of film on which documents are photographed
MicroFiche
Film on which documents are photographhed
Microfilm
A datavbase of laws compiled by a publisher who charges customers to use it, axcess to full text legal documents
Online Legal Database
Also known as brief banks are copies of work previously completed that may be used again for use of a guide to complete other projects
Knowledge bank
Software created exlusivley by a law firm
Custom software
Created by software companies who market and distrubute the software through the public
Off the shelf software
Software bundled in one package called office suites
Bundled software
A software application that can be purhased to enhance the features of another software applicstion
Add on Software
A unique name that identifies an organization of the internet site
Domain name
What was the internet origninally designed for?
A countrys communication network in case of a nucleur attack
This is not the internet, it is one of the protocols that operate the internet
World Wide Web
What are the goals of a system?
Maxamize productivity, minimize waste, conserve resources, reduce errors, and produce high quality work
What is the purpose of a system?
The purpose is to stramalize a task so that team mebers of a legal team do not do unecessary work, wast resources, or make mistakes
A large system, the elements include technology, economy, and govermental laws and regulations
Macrosystem
A firms methodology for reaching its goals
Microsystem
A system with a microsystem. This system must operate with substantive and administrative microsystems
Minisystem
A system relating to the management of a firm
Substantive Microsystem
A system providing legal services to a client
Administrative Microsystem
What are the four stages if devolpement?
Anylyze, Synethize, Organize, Finalize