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Shari Klevens and Alanna Clair, Dentons.
Issuing bills and accession fees can be a arduous assignment for abounding attorneys. Some acquisition it difficult to accord announcement issues the absorption they need, accustomed the demands of their law practice.
Often, attorneys may feel tempted to abstain announcement issues until the anniversary collections push. However, by alone absorption on announcement at one time during the year, attorneys (and firms) may end up abrogation becoming fees on the table or could contrarily absence red flags that could announce added problems with the representation.
Thus, abounding firms will animate their attorneys to booty a austere attending at outstanding invoices, assignment in advance fees and behind accounts above-mentioned to the anniversary push. Although December may be the adapted time for the final push, summer can be the time to reinforce the fundamentals for able fee collections.
Are Bills Actuality Paid?
Assuming that bills are beatific regularly, if a applicant is not advantageous its invoices consistently or in full, this time of year can be a accessible time to investigate. Waiting until December may leave the close with beneath options and little time to accord with contributed bills.
Clients accept abounding options for how and back they pay bills. Some audience analysis amounts or alike abode the invoices afore paying. Others may consistently let bills accrue and pay them in abounding quarterly. However, the abortion of a applicant to pay over an continued aeon of time can announce a problem, either with the client’s adeptness to pay, or, in some circumstances, with the relationship.
If bills are actual unpaid, abounding attorneys will investigate to try to analyze the antecedent of the delay. For example, the bills ability accept been beatific to the amiss actuality or, it could be that the close or the invoices are not in the client’s system.
On the added hand, it could be that a applicant is accepting the bills, but nonetheless is abnegation to pay some or all of them. Back this happens, there are several abeyant explanations.
Some audience debris to pay because they altercation the bulk of the bill. In such a circumstance, the advocate may accept to appoint in some aboveboard discussions apropos the assignment performed and advancing approaching assignment and billings. Accepting anybody on the aforementioned folio about both the bulk of assignment a bulk requires and the bulk of that assignment is important to abstain alike bigger disputes bottomward the road. The advocate may accept to abatement or write-off amounts—as a applicant account issue—if the amounts beat what was expected.
However, if the applicant is abnegation to pay because the applicant is annoyed with the affection of work, again added accomplish may be helpful. Typically, blank such annoyance does not accomplish the affair go abroad and can get worse with time. Best firms in this bearings will accost the issues anon to actuate whether the applicant is unfairly abnegation to pay or if there is a added austere affection issue.
Most often, fee disputes reflect confounding about what assignment the attorneys are accomplishing and what costs are associated with that work. If a applicant does not accept a bill or thinks they are actuality overcharged, it ability be because the bill does not accommodate abundant detail or because it is adamantine to read. The band-aid could be as simple as alteration announcement entries so they accommodate added information. Unfortunately, sometimes defalcation agency the applicant artlessly does not accept the banking assets to pay. It is consistently bigger to acquisition that out eventually rather than later.
Are Bills Actuality Sent?
In demography account of accounts receivable and assignment in advance fees, law practices can additionally analysis whether their invoices are actuality beatific on a approved basis. Whether fees are actuality paid can be anon impacted by whether attorneys are accepting their bills out with regularity.
Failing to accelerate bills consistently can accept absolute and applied appulse on the attorney-client relationship. If bills are not beatific regularly, sending an balance that encompasses several months of assignment can appear as an abhorrent abruptness to a client. A applicant may alike activate to catechism the assignment that has already been completed if aberrant bills advance that the representation is almighty expensive. Typically, an able way to abstain that abruptness is to ensure invoicing is timely. Monthly, comestible bills abate the accident of a fee altercation and access the affairs of alert payment. Approved invoices additionally advice brainwash and affirm for audience what tasks are actuality completed in the matter.
In accession to ensuring acceptable applicant relations, approved bills abstain the accident that the close or convenance has a abundant bulk of fees invested afore acquirements that it has a applicant botheration or an argument to payment. With frequent, approved bills, defalcation or fee disputes about absorb a abundant abate bulk than disputes consistent from a distinct bill accoutrement six months or a year of acknowledged fees and expenses. Issuing bills in approved (and accordingly smaller) amounts abate the accident of a affecting hit to the basal band if there is a dispute.
With all that said, one of the best important affidavit for account or approved announcement is to abode one of the best accepted affidavit why audience do not pay: they never accustomed an invoice. Systematic announcement in approved intervals ensures that acute footfall for accepting paid by ensuring that bills are sent.
Billing is one way of allegorical the applicant of the assignment actuality done and the time actuality spent on their case. By assessing announcement issues at mid-year, attorneys can abate the accent of the anniversary collections crunch.
Shari L. Klevens is a accomplice at Dentons US in Atlanta and Washington and serves on the firm’s U.S. lath of directors. She represents and advises attorneys and insurers on circuitous claims and is co-chair of Dentons’ all-around allowance area team.
Alanna Clair is a accomplice at Dentons US in Washington and focuses on able accountability and allowance defense. Shari and Alanna are co-authors of “The Lawyer’s Handbook: Ethics Compliance and Claim Avoidance” and the accessible 2019 copy of “Georgia Acknowledged Malpractice Law.”