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Clio

Ranked #1, Clio is the leading law practice management software used by over 150,000 lawyers and with the most 5-star reviews. The only legal software with 1,500+ reviews on Capterra. Lawyers can access and manage their work in ...Read more about Clio

4.7 (1591 reviews)

358 recommendations

Filevine

Filevine is your ultimate legal tech stack, including case and document management, texting, and time and billing features. Powerful AI tools summarize and find inconsistencies in documents in as quick as a few minutes. Get your f...Read more about Filevine

4.5 (203 reviews)

274 recommendations

MyCase

MyCase is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps attorneys in small to medium size law firms manage communications with their clients and carry out daily business operations. The solution also provides functionalities ...Read more about MyCase

4.7 (681 reviews)

223 recommendations

CARET Legal

CARET Legal is the leading solution for legal professionals to manage their practice and create space for what matters, including delighting clients and maximizing billable time. From client intake, to matter management, to bac...Read more about CARET Legal

4.5 (129 reviews)

43 recommendations

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Smokeball

Smokeball is the only cloud-based legal case management software that also runs from your desktop. Manage all of your matters with collaborative case management; customize your commonly used forms with a single click in document a...Read more about Smokeball

4.8 (246 reviews)

38 recommendations

Curo365

Built on the most powerful cloud-based solution, Curo365 resides on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform built specifically for law firms and integrates with your existing Microsoft Office 365 applications. The only singular soluti...Read more about Curo365

4.7 (14 reviews)

13 recommendations

Litify

Litify was selected as the 2022 Practice Management Solution Provider of the Year. Learn more: https://www.litify.com/blog/litify-selected-2022-practice-management-solution-of-year/ Litify is the end-to-end legal operating platfo...Read more about Litify

4.6 (55 reviews)

8 recommendations

ProTempus

ProTempus is an on-premise practice management solution designed for small law firms. Key features include timekeeping/billing, contact management, document management, case management, AR, AP, GL and trust accounting. Two clicks ...Read more about ProTempus

4.9 (10 reviews)

6 recommendations

BigTime

BigTime is an online time and billing solution designed to serve professional service firms like accounting, engineering, government contracting, legal and IT services. The integrated solution offers features like time and expense...Read more about BigTime

4.6 (635 reviews)

4 recommendations

Quickbooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a small business accounting software and app that allows you to manage your business anywhere, anytime. Used by over 7 million customers globally, QuickBooks provides smart tools for your business, yet is easy...Read more about Quickbooks Online

FreshBooks

FreshBooks takes billing out of your hands and puts it on autopilot. Set up automated invoicing, online payment options (ACH and Credit Card), and late payment reminders to get paid 2x faster. Next, boost team productivity with pr...Read more about FreshBooks

Time Tracker

Time Tracker is an employee time and attendance tracking solution designed to simplify employee tracking and reduce administration using automation functionality. With Time Tracker, businesses are able to examine and track employe...Read more about Time Tracker

Xero

Xero is a global small business platform with 3.95 million subscribers which includes core accounting, payroll, workforce management, expenses and projects. Xero also has an extensive ecosystem of connected apps and connections to...Read more about Xero

NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

BQE CORE Suite

BQE’s powerful all-in-one platform and expert support give Architecture, Consulting, and Engineering firms the intuitive tools they need to meet the demands of their firm, empower their team, maximize profitability, and deliver su...Read more about BQE CORE Suite

TimeSolv Legal Billing

TimeSolv is a cloud-based legal time tracking and billing solution that caters to law firms, accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations. TimeSolv integrates project ma...Read more about TimeSolv Legal Billing

PracticePanther Legal Software

PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to large practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy, personal injury, family, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The ...Read more about PracticePanther Legal Software

Avaza

Avaza is a business management solution which includes features for project management, resource scheduling, online timesheets, expense management, online invoicing, recurring invoicing, quotes and invoices and more. Avaza also in...Read more about Avaza

AbacusLaw

AbacusLaw is case automation software designed explicitly for law firms. The system works as a complete practice management solution that helps in managing workflows including time tracking, billing, and accounting operations. Aba...Read more about AbacusLaw

CosmoLex

CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management solution that offers features including time tracking, billing, trust accounting, task and document management. The solution connects all modules so that users do not have to enter i...Read more about CosmoLex

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

What Is Legal Billing Software?

Legal billing software is any technology that enables lawyers and law firms to track consulting time and receive payment for their services. These systems offer capabilities like time tracking, invoicing, and accounting.

Tracking billable hours using paper-based methods, or even spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, can be tedious and time-consuming. What’s worse, these methods create lots of potential for human error. Even after you’ve calculated billable hours, you’ll still need to generate invoices and stay on top of client accounts.

Accurate tracking of billable hours ensures a steady flow of revenue for your law firm or private practice. To automate the billing process and make sure billable time isn’t slipping through the cracks, you’ll need dedicated legal billing software. There are many different types of software that can streamline time tracking and billing for lawyers and legal departments. This guide will help you understand the major categories and features.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Best-of-Breed Options vs. Practice Management Suites

Common Functionality of Legal Billing Software

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Best-of-Breed Options vs. Practice Management Suites

Because billing is foundational to a law office’s operations, there are a number of stand-alone solutions on the market. Time tracking and billing modules are also integrated into more comprehensive practice management software suites. A practice management suite is a single system that manages all areas of your law practice.

If you need extensive case management, document management or contact management functionality in addition to time tracking and billing, you should definitely look into practice management suites. Some suites even integrate time tracking capabilities throughout the system’s modules. For example, you can track time in a document management module without having to use a timer.

If all you need is a better way to track billable hours, look into the many stand-alone solutions on the market created for this purpose.

Common Functionality of Legal Billing Software

Functionality of legal billing software can be divided into three categories: time tracking; bill preparation and payment; and general ledger.

Time Tracking Functionality

Calendar

Calendar may be included, or software may integrate with a calendar application (e.g., Microsoft Outlook). Events created in your calendar can automatically feed into calculations of billable hours. In some systems, calendar information can be used to fill in gaps in billable time.

Multiple fee schedules/billing arrangements

Allows users to bill time in hourly, contingency, transactional, user-defined, flat fee (monthly, annual or user-defined), retainer fee and split fee increments.

Billing rates by timekeeper level

Allows users to bill by timekeeper level: e.g., individual attorney, partner, associate, practice area type and client levels. Primarily used by larger firms.

Automated time capture

Draws on calendar data, documents and tasks to fill in gaps in your billable time.

Stopwatch timers

Users can set timers to track each minute of billable time.

Activity codes

Allows users to assign activity codes to billable time, including the codes established by the American Bar Association (ABA). Users can also define their own codes.

Expense tracking

Allows users to track expenses associated with clients’ accounts.

Missing time reporting

Allows the system to report on gaps in your billable time.

Bill Preparation and Payment Functionality

Client invoicing

Automatically generates client invoices based on the billable time recorded in the system. Bills can be delivered via email, or electronically in Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) format.

Customizable invoice templates

Allows users to customize invoices with their firm’s logo.

Past due notices

Automatically notifies clients when bills are past due. Some systems can also calculate late fees automatically.

Low retainer reminders

Sends automatic notices when clients’ retainer fees are getting low.

Credit card processing and EFT

Some systems allow users to accept credit card payments. Other systems allow for electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments via automated clearing house (ACH) processing as well as PayPal gateways.

General Ledger Functionality

Client account balances

Users can record invoices and payments and maintain account balances for all clients.

IRS filings

Automatically prepares IRS filings on the basis of information stored in the system.

Trust accounting

Allows users to manage trust accounts for clients and even author checks within the system.

Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Accounting

IOLTA, which helps raise money for legal aid for those in poverty via interest earned on client funds, entails special accounting requirements that you can manage with your software. The software protects against accounting mistakes and automatically records paper trails in case of an audit.

Financial reporting

The system can automatically generate reports on information such as outstanding balances and client inactivity.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The type of legal billing software you choose will depend, in part, on your specific needs as a buyer. For example:

  • Solo practitioner. If you have your own practice, you’ll really only need the most basic time-tracking capabilities. While features such as automatic time capture are obviously useful to all attorneys, they’re confined to expensive systems that might not be the best fit for solo practitioners.

  • Small firms. Small firms should think critically about whether to go with a stand-alone billing solution or a practice management system. If you have special accounting, mobile access and/or payment needs, you may need to invest in a more robust solution.

  • Large firms. Large firms will need extensive functionality for managing individual time-keepers and clients. Reporting features are also crucial for large firms to identify revenue opportunities. Finally, some legal billing systems include capabilities like those found in customer relationship management systems, which can be necessary for managing lots of clients.