Why attorneys should send professional invoices
As an attorney, you bring your experience, skill, and legal knowledge to every case. Whether you specialize in a particular field of law, or handle many different types of cases, you need an invoice that is flexible enough to capture all the costs.
That means you need professional, well-organized invoices that include all the details, while still being easy-to-understand. A well-designed invoice also reflects on your image and expertise and helps create confidence and trust in your skills as an attorney.
Once you've downloaded your free invoice template, you'll need to customize it to fit your specific business. Here are the 10 key things to include on your invoice:
- Title and Description: Name the project and briefly describe what type of work your client is being invoiced for.
- Company Details: Add your company name, address, phone number, and logo to the top-right corner.
- Customer Details: Under "Bill To", add your customer's name, address, and contact information.
- Invoice Number: Include a unique invoice number to help you track down this invoice in the future. You can format this based on sequence and customer. For example, if you're sending your very first customer their first invoice, the invoice number could be 001-001.
- Dates: Include the date when your invoice has been issued and the date when payment is due.
- Line Item: Add individual line items for each unique good or service you provided. For each line item, include a brief description, quantity, individual unit price, and total price.
- Subtotal: Add up the subtotal of your goods or services, before tax has been applied.
- Tax: Indicate the tax rate applied to the subtotal. This is legally required to provide on invoices, and your rate may differ depending on where you run your business.
- Total: Outline the total amount due from the customer, after tax.
- Notes: Include any additional info your customer should know, including terms of service and payment terms (for example, payments are due 30 days after the invoice has been issued).
- Browse through our wide selection of specially designed attorney invoice templates in different styles and colors, and pick the one you like in the format you use – Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets
- Download the invoice template. It’s easy to do and it’s free!
- Insert your business name and contact information. If you provide specialized legal services, like family or corporate law – mention it here where people will notice
- Insert your logo, if you have one – along with your website, and your professional designations
- Add in your client’s name and contact information
- Generate a unique invoice number and add it to the template
- Include the date of the invoice and the dates your legal services were required, if appropriate, along with the payment due date
- List the case number or file, and the legal services you provided, with your fees based on your hourly rate or a flat rate
- If you are billing by the hour, include an up-to-date timesheet to indicate your billable hours
- Add or remove lines to customize the invoice format to meet your billing needs for that particular case and client
- If you are including a discount for a high volume of work for a corporate client, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting a special rate for your legal services
- Calculate the total price of the project, including applicable tax, and list the total
- Include your payment terms, including the methods of payment you accept
- Add a personal line at the end, such as a thank you for the business, or to wish your client good luck. A little goodwill could lead to some big referrals!
- Save the invoice – and send it off to your client!
When is the right time to send an invoice as an attorney?
The right time to send an invoice depends on your law practice and the type of legal services you provide. Many attorneys ask for payment upfront for services such as consultations. If they take on a case, they may bill after the verdict is decided and connect their fees to whether the outcome was favorable or not.
If you offer your legal services on retainer, you will want to invoice monthly, or at another appropriate time period, to keep the revenue flowing in. For cases that may take several months or even years, you can bill regularly for your services or at certain significant milestones.
Handy invoicing tips for attorneys
Include professional recommendations
Include a few lines to describe any future legal services you think would be beneficial to your client, especially if they will be dealing with ongoing or regular legal situations. It shows them you are thinking about their best interests and are providing them with your expert knowledge.
Change your payment terms
We live in an automated world where people are used to paying for products and services right away. Your legal fees should be no different. You might consider shortening your payment terms from 30 days to three weeks, or even 15 days.
Keep an up-to-date timesheet
If you are providing your legal services at an hourly rate, accurately track your billable hours and include your timesheet as an attachment to your invoice so your client knows exactly how much work you have done. If you offer your services on retainer, and your agreement specifies a maximum number of hours, a timesheet indicates when extra charges need to be included.
Keep a record of your work with numbered invoices
Numbered invoices help you keep track of how much money is coming in, and shows clients you have an organized system in place. You can also assign a case code if your legal work for that particular client is going to be spread out over a long period of time and involve several invoices.