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What Should You Include In a Legal Billing Invoice?

It’s hard to find the right amount of detail when you have to put together a legal billing invoice for a client. Too much detail, and things can get confusing. Too little, and your client might not understand what they’re paying for.

Take the time to understand the point of your invoice, and consulting the right resources. This will help your invoice function as you need it to. Here are three things to do before you start:

  1. Keep track of all the tasks you’ve completed for the client in sufficient detail.
  2. Keep the client posted on everything you’re doing so that there are no surprises.
  3. Record your time and evaluate it for efficiency.

With those three things in mind, each billing entry should be descriptive, and include things like phone calls, emails, drafting and court sessions. Including the names of people you are writing to or the nature of a court visit is a good idea, too. A short description of each event topic is a good idea to include, as well. All of these things will help your client better understand what they are paying for.

Aside from those details, not too much else should be included on your legal billing invoice. Things like the substance of your communications or your opinions should be on confidential memos for your client, not on their bills.

Using abbreviations in your billing is a great way to increase efficiency, too. A lot of billing programs have these built in, but here is a list to help you know which ones are best to use:

rd           review documents

tcc          telephone call w/client

tco          telephone call w/attorney

demc      draft email to client

democ    draft email to opposing attorney

dlc          draft letter to client

rremc     review and respond to client email

mc          meeting with client

rremc     review and respond to client email

demm    draft email re mediation

You can add your own abbreviations to the list, too. Whenever you notice that you’re using the same term frequently, add it to your list. The main things to consier when you’re putting together a legal billing invoice are simplicity and making sure your system works for you.

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Lynn Hachette

Lynn Hachette began her career in journalism as a columnist for her university newspaper, and her love for writing quickly developed. She went on to become a co-editor-in-chief of the newspaper, writing about everything from local politics to technology to popular culture. Lynn since completed her master’s in journalism, and has made a career out of her passion. She also loves reading, cooking, puppies and bad TV.

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