Why law firms should send professional invoices
Each case is different, so law firms need to have a wide-range of legal knowledge and attorney expertise to help their clients reach a satisfactory legal outcome.
That means you need a flexible, well-organized invoice that will include all the details, while still being simple and easy to understand so your clients know exactly what they are being charged for.
An elegant, well-designed invoice also reflects on the image of your law firm, and creates confidence and trust in your professional legal services.
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).
- Look through our impressive selection of specially designed law firm invoice templates in different designs and colors
- Select the invoice template design that works best for your lawn firm, and download it for FREE in the format you use – Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets
- Insert your law firm name and your contact information. If your firm provides specialized legal services, like personal injury or criminal law – mention it here
- Insert your firm’s logo, along with your website, the firm’s partners and associates, and their professional designations
- Add in your client’s name and contact information. If you are providing services to a large corporate or government client, make sure you include the name of the correct contact person so your invoice will go to the right person to be paid
- Generate a unique invoice number and add it on
- 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 fees based on your hourly rate or a flat rate
- If your law firm is billing by the hour for this particular client, include an up-to-date timesheet to indicate the appropriate billable hours
- Add or remove lines to customize the invoice format to include all the details you need to describe your legal services and cover your billing needs
- If you are including a discount for a recurring client, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are receiving a special rate for your firm’s outstanding legal services
- Calculate the total price, including applicable tax, and enter the total
- Include your payment terms, including the methods of payment you accept
- If appropriate, add a personal line at the end, such as a thank you for the business, or to wish your client good luck.
- Save the invoice for your legal records – and send it off!
When is the right time to send an invoice as a law firm?
Many law firms ask for payment upfront for consultations and other one-off legal services, such as wills and power of attorney. If your firm’s legal services will span over a long period of time, your firm can bill regularly for services, or at certain significant milestones.
If your law firm has been hired on retainer, you will want to invoice monthly, or at another appropriate time period, to keep the revenue flowing in.
Whatever payment cadence you choose, make sure to reflect that on each invoice, and clarify what portion of the final “cost” has been paid to date.
Invoicing tips for law firms
If appropriate, add lines on the flexible invoice template to describe any other legal services your law firm supplies that would be of benefit to your client. It shows you thoroughly understand their legal situation and are thinking about their best interests moving forward.
Use numbered invoices for your law firm’s cases and clients
Numbered invoices help you keep track of how much money is coming into your firm. Assigning a case code is also a good idea if your firm’s work for that client is going to be spread out over a long period of time and involve several invoices.
Attach a timesheet
Many legal services are billed at an hourly rate, so accurately track your firm’s billable hours with a timesheet, and attach it to your invoice. This will show your client exactly how much work you have done. If your law firm is on retainer, a timesheet will indicate when the maximum billable hours for that time period has been reached and extra charges need to be included.
Accept a variety of payment methods
Technology has changed the way we pay for everything, from groceries to health care, and that should also include legal services. By giving your clients the choice to pay in the way that is most convenient for them, such as e-Transfers, debit cards, direct bank deposits, and other online methods of payment, you will receive payment faster.