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    ForbesAdvisor - The Best Legal Billing Software Of 2022

    Are you struggling to make your clients pay?

    Do You Make Your Clients Struggle to Pay You?

      Many lawyers find themselves dealing with issues they didn’t cover in law school, like client billing and invoicing. Some processes, such as billing and payments, are more troublesome than others. Billing and payments have a significant impact on your revenue, but getting them right can feel like trying to manage monkeys at the circus.   

      Every law firm is different, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all perfect solution for payment processing. But there are best practices and tools that can save time and boost your efficiency, so the billing process runs less like an old wooden roller coaster and more like a modern, well-oiled machine.  

      Why your billing process may be sabotaging your client payments 

      While you may occasionally run into “problem clients,” many roadblocks and obstacles for client payments can actually stem from inefficient internal processes.  

      Clients prioritize convenience and a smooth billing experience. If you don’t provide both, it will probably reflect in your payment turnaround time.  

      Put yourself in your clients’ shoes, and ask yourself: 

      • Do your bills go out on time?  
      • Are your payment terms clear and communicated well?  
      • Is it easy to pay you through an emailed invoice or web portal?  
      • Are your invoices easy to view and pay from a mobile device?  
      • Do you accept all forms of payment?  
      • Do you automatically send past-due reminders and retainer replenishment requests? 

      Law firms that struggle to receive on-time client payments often have speed bumps in their invoicing process.  

      7 reasons why your clients may be struggling to pay you (and what you can do about it) 

      People like to do things that are easy. If it’s not easy, then the billing process can take more time for everyone involved. Let’s look at some common issues that law firms encounter in receiving on-time client payments.

      12 Legal Payment Processing Features to Look For

      Want to see a healthier cash flow and happier clients? Start accepting payments online! On your quest for the right payment processor, look for features that streamline and support the way law firms operate.


      1. You don’t have online payment options 

      For law firms that want to be competitive, online payment options are a must. This is true for every business, not just law firms. Electronic billing is so expected that if you don’t have online payment options, you may be seen as a less convenient option compared to other firms.  

      Clients prefer electronic billing because they can pay invoices from their laptops or smartphones, from wherever they are. No waiting for the mail, finding time at home, writing a check, and hoping you have enough stamps to mail it back.  

      Manual payment processes are a recipe for roadblocks and “I’ll get to it later.”  

      Electronic billing gets to your clients instantly, and it’s much easier for clients to pay their invoices immediately upon receipt. Plus, with a client portal through your legal billing software, clients can keep their cards on file. When the bill comes, all they have to do is log onto their client portal, and they can submit payment in seconds.  

      2. You aren’t communicating your payment expectations clearly 

      For all clients, both new and recurring, clear and transparent communication is key to client satisfaction and on-time payments.  

      Without clear communication, both sides may end up unhappy.  

      Review your current practices and consider: 

      • Do your clients understand your expectations and payment process before work on a case begins? 
      • How do you communicate payment expectations? Do you discuss it in writing and in person? 
      • Do you share your payment policy during your intake process?

      3. You aren’t sending invoices at the same time every month 

      People love consistency. We love habits and predictable outcomes. As a law firm, you can use this to your advantage.  

      Create a consistent invoice schedule to create a habit loop for your clients.  

      • The more you can invoice clients on the same day every month, the more your clients will learn to anticipate your invoices.  
      • The more they know when your invoice is coming, the more likely they are to have those funds ready to go.  

      4. You don’t offer the right fee structures for your clients (or your firm) 

      Not every fee arrangement is going to be suitable for every type of client. Depending on the case matter and type, clients might benefit from hourly, contingency, flat fees, or scaling fee rates.  

      If you are in a position to offer different fee structures, it may improve your client payment schedule. For example, some clients may need to use trust accounting, which comes with its own set of rules and regulations but can also provide the benefit of regular payments.  

      Look for a system that enables compliant trust accounting (because compliance with trust accounting regulations is non-negotiable) and other alternative fee arrangements to ensure you stay compliant. The right legal billing software can help your law firm employ a variety of fee structures so that you can use the right tools for each client’s unique needs.   

      5. You don’t use batch billing or automatic electronic prebills 

      Consistency and accuracy make an impression on your clients. Whether that impression is good or bad? Well, that depends on if you’re inconsistent and inaccurate…or not.  

      To get bills out on time and error-free, electronic prebills and batch billing should be part of your workflows.  

      • Use batch billing to efficiently generate numerous invoices at once, making it easier to get invoices generated.  
      • Use electronic prebills, and your law firm only needs to review them to ensure accuracy before sending them to clients.  

      These steps reduce the potential for human error and foster a positive client experience—qualities that translate into improved cash flow.  

      6. You don’t follow up on payments before they’re due 

      There is a right way—-and a wrong way—-to follow up on outstanding invoices. The wrong way is to wait until they’re already overdue.  

      Proactive follow-up procedures help remind clients of upcoming deadlines. Set up automated emails to go out one week prior and one day prior to a payment deadline to help clients avoid any late fees on their invoices.  

      7. You don’t regularly review billing and invoicing reports 

      Information is power. The more information you have, the easier it is to make the right decisions that benefit your law firm and support strategic growth.  

      Look for legal billing software with built-in reporting features. Regular reports are a great way to identify potential pain points. 

      For example, through regular reporting, you may notice that clients who use a specific fee arrangement are consistently behind on payments. This is an opportunity for you to review that fee arrangement and work on a solution to either support those clients or move away from clients that require that specific fee arrangement. 

      Make client payments easier than ever with legal payment processing software 

      It’s one thing to know what not to do in client billing, but it’s another thing to have the right tools to put all those best practices in place. For law firms, legal billing software is an incredibly powerful tool to help you implement best practices, stay consistent, save time, and provide a better client experience.  

      Rocket Matter’s legal payment processing software makes it easier for you to bill clients—-and easier for clients to pay. Schedule a demo today! 

      12 Legal Payment Processing Features to Look For

      Want to see a healthier cash flow and happier clients? Start accepting payments online! On your quest for the right payment processor, look for features that streamline and support the way law firms operate.

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