Archive for December 29, 2014

How Can An Online Recruitment Agency Help A Law Student Graduate Get A Career Started

An online recruitment agency can help a law student graduate get a career started by matching the graduate with opportunities that match their skill sets. This is a very exciting time for a law student graduate but it can also be very confusing and also very frustrating. They know that they need to find work but they don’t want to just take the first job that comes along. A law student graduate can be overwhelmed because they might receive a few job offers but they are really not sure which one they should accept. An online recruitment agency will help take this confusion and frustration away. They will simplify the process by doing the leg work for you. This will help you by taking away the stress of having to look for a career.

With the help of an online recruitment agency, a law student graduate will just have to fill in some information into an online form. The information that is entered should be as accurate as possible. This information will be analyzed by an online recruitment agency to find out what would be the best match for you. You will be asked for an interview and the interview will help the online recruitment agency to assess your skills and gather information about the way you conduct yourself during the interview. They will want to know that you are a professional and they will also be assessing your levels of stress and how that is handled.

When an online recruitment agency finds a match for your skills they will contact you and you will be placed on a short list of applicants for further consideration. As part of the final hiring process, you will meet with the law firm that is hiring and they will conduct an interview with you. This interview will help the law firm assess your skills and get to know you. This will be the time that they will decide, based on your mannerism, professionalism and demeanor, whether you will be the right candidate to join their law firm. This is the time that you would want to ask any questions you might have about the position or the law firm itself.

You dont have to be a law student graduate to get a career started using an online recruitment agency. They will assist you in finding the career of your choice whether you choose a career in manufacturing, medical, technology or any other industry. Your skills will be assessed and the determination of whether you are a good fit for any of the openings they have available will be made. If you are a good fit for them to assist you, they will do everything they can to help you get into your career choice.

A Loophole In Landlord Tenant Law In California

Under California law landlords have to adhere to housing standards and must refrain from using self help. There are housing standards that if violated will deem the property untenantable, meaning it cannot be rented out.

The property is deemed untentantable, if it substantially lacks the following:

(1) Effective waterproofing and wether protection of the roof, walls, windows, and doors;

(2) gas facilities maintained in good working order;

(3) a water supply capable of producing hot and cold running water, and connected to a sewage disposal system;

(4) heating facilities maintained in good working order;

(5) Electrical lighting, maintained in good working order;

(6) the building, the grounds, appurtenances, and all areas under control of the landlord starting from the time of the commencement of the lease or rental agreement have to be kept clean, sanitary, free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin;

(7) an adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage and rubbish, in clean condition and good repair at the time of the commence of the lease or rental agreement, and the landlord is responsible for the clean condition and good repair of the receptacles under his or her control;

(8) floors, stairways maintained in good repair.

The landlord also has to be sure he complies with local ordinances and any remodeling has to comply with existing building codes.

A landlord of a dwelling cannot legally demand rent, collect rent, issue a notice of a rent increase, or issue a three day notice to pay rent or quit, if the property is untentable and:

(1) A public officer or employee who is responsible for the enforcement of any housing law, after inspecting the premises, has notified the landlord or the landlord’s agent in writing of his or her obligations to abate the nuisance or repair the substandard conditions;

(2) The conditions have existed and have not been removed 35 days after notice was received from a public officer and the delay is not for good cause;

(3) and the conditions were not caused by an act of the tenant or the tenants failure to act.

A landlord that demands rent, collects rent, or issues a notice of rent increase, or issues a three day notice to pay or quit and the four conditions are present then the landlord liable to the tenant for the actual damages, plus special damages of no less than $100 and not more than $5,000.00. The prevailing party is also entitle to reasonable attorney fees and costs.

This does not mean that the tenant can cause these conditions and it does not mean that
the landlord is liable if the tenant chooses to live in substandard conditions. The landlord has no duty to repair a dilapidation if the tenant is in substantial violation of the following affirmative obligations:

(1) The tenant is obligated to keep that part of the premises which he occupies and uses clean and sanitary as the condition the premises permit;

(2) The tenant is required to properly dispose for his dwelling unit all rubbish, garbage and other waste , in a clean and sanitary manner;

(3) The tenant is obligated to refrain from giving permission to any person on the premises to willfully destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part fo the structure and the tenant also must refrain from doing such things;

(4) The tenant is obligated to occupy the premises as his abode, utilizing portions for living, sleeping, cooking or dining purposes only as the dwelling was designed and intended to be used.

These are the most basic requirements, but the list of obligations and responsibilities is much broader and imposes even more responsibilities on the landlord. What is shocking, is that a landlord is allowed to legally harass a tenant, even when the landlord has no viable claim and is in violation of the preceding. A landlord can initiate eviction proceedings and even evict a tenant, even if the landlord is in violation of the aforementioned housing violations. If the tenant is able to obtain counsel to represent the tenant the landlord can litigate the lawsuit and then on the day of trial simply dismiss the lawsuit.

If the landlord alleges a contract violation as the basis of the lawsuit, the landlord can dismiss the lawsuit at the very last minute and not incur any attorney fees or costs, because if there is an attorney fee provisions in the lease agreement there is no winner when the landlord voluntarily dismisses the case. It is a loophole that essentially encourages frivolous lawsuits. Under California law the landlord could bring a frivolous lawsuit several times and dismiss them just before trial after the tenant has exhausted thousands defending the lawsuit. This is how a landlord can harass a tenant legally.

It is not right, it is not fair, and certainly not just, but it is the result that was created by the State Legislature.

Important Approaches in Having the Best Personal Injury Lawyers to Employ

We all know that lawyers in main cities who deal with personal injury cases are not that reputable. -Ambulance chasers- is the word referred to them by others. A junior level attorney can help someone with injuries, which is due to an accident. Or perhaps she’s awaiting the victims in the hospital. Even so, some personal injury lawyers aren’t like this. The habit of chasing ambulances tends to create a negative reputation among some other lawyers who don’t do such thing. In this recent times, as attorneys, these speculations will ruin our names. This is probably the worst status an attorney could have./p>

Nonetheless, you can still find some personal injury lawyers who can provide lawful services in a way that is much better for their clients. The truth is, our clients come to us since we have such a good reputation. Maybe we can afford stuff more than we need, but we’re completely committed to doing our job with the right purpose. Clients wouldn’t be counting on our service if we haven’t earn their trust.

Therefore, how to look for a personal injury attorney in case you are included in the accident itself? In cases similar to this, it is much better to talk to your trusted friends who have experienced such sort of situation. If you would like it fast as well as quick, it will not turn out simple. Even so, if you have the patience, it becomes fast and easy.

Another recommendation when searching for a car accident lawyer is to search for them through yellow pages which might be quite harder than it was once. This is exactly where the Web will prove its true purpose. It may seem impractical, but with the web, it appears to be the most reliable choice you have to see the finest lawyer in town.

During online search, find a law firm with a lot of reviews. In case you pay a visit to the Yelp website and found only three great reviews regarding a particular law firm, it will never count as trustworthy. On a different note, if that company has a lot of great and positive reviews, then it is absolutely worth to try. You could be wondering about the remaining five reviews. Of course, they’re indeed not good, but for me, it is not important anymore. For what reason? It is a reality that each of us has our fair share of bad days, and difficult clients add a lot to this burden. Though it is your option, but we all know it is smart enough to take into consideration some factors such as positive ratings.

If you get your hands on any of these law firms, make sure to provide answers in all their questions. It is anticipated that the lawyer will be asking you information with regards to your case. This is already a part of the routine. Furthermore, if the lawyer you’ve called will not be asking information with regards to the case, then maybe the law firm isn’t interested to deal with such case. Have you ever wondered why? Think it out further. Will your case have a great outcome if your lawyer don’t have much details to represent? Undoubtedly, this does not makes the attorney’s motives conclusive, but at least enough to raise questions.

Nothing at all can be achieved if you will not do your best, and it is as well true to Accident Lawyer. In order that you can move forward, you not just have to make an effort, you also need to make your work better. You may choose to check out if you want to have a more comprehensive explanation for Injury Attorney. Here you will learn plenty of helpful facts that will enable you to get in advance.

What’s The Deal With California Catalytic Converter Laws

I live in las Angeles California and the smog requirements here are ridiculous. I guess its just the price you pay to live in paradise. So I went to get an engine code read at the dealer ship the other day and they told me my catalytic converter was bad. They had the never to tell me that it would cost $1129 to have another swapped out. I thought they were crazy and figured Id buy one off of eBay and put it on myself.

I waited till I got to work the next. hey you would prefer to be paid to surf the web too right? As I started searching I noticed every cat I could find that was suppose to fit my car said not California compliant. I was at least learning that there were 4 major brands of aftermarket cats they were catco, eastern, magnaflow catalytic converter, and walker exhaust. I was even able to source a few part number for Ca complaint converters from each of the manufacturers.

However no one would sell me one because it was illegal. What I found out was that my state actually had cats made specifically for it and had recently (1-1-2009) outlawed all of them while passing a further restrictive smog law. So all they cats are being sold on the web to fit ca are actually bad. I tried to call most manufacturers but no one would help me until I called all exhaust. They explained to me in detail everything I needed to know and helped me get the correct universal California Magnfalow Catalytic Converter.

I had it welded on for $50 by a meneke muffler shop and I passed my emissions testing with flying colors. Now if I had been interested in just bolting on the cat myself I could have purchased a direct fit catalytic converter and put it on my truck in my driveway. The only reason I did not do this is my car is not worth much and I don’t think having a welded cat would be a bad thing when it comes times to sell it. However if I had a newer vehicle I would of picked up a direct fit Cadillac converter.

New York Federal Judge Approves Law Firms’ Use of Prostitutes to Drum Up Business

An attorney appeals a New York federal judge’s ruling approving law firms’ use of prostitutes to file false sexual harassment claims.

The lawyer for a business suing several law firms for extortion has filed an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling approving of the law firms use of prostitutes to drum up business. The firms Arce Law Group, Derek T. Smith, LLC, and Phillips & Phillips, are all located in the same Manhattan office. They have been accused of using prostitutes to entice male business owners or supervisors into embarrassing situations and then filing false sexual harassment charges.

Anil Taneja, Esq. (), the attorney who sued the three firms, filed an appeal of Manhattan federal judge Denise Cote’s orders approving of the use of prostitutes and dismissing his clients’ claims. Judge Cote further stated that once an attorney using prostitutes says, while not under oath, that they are not involved, no further inquiry could be made.

In his filings to the appeals court last November (In re Ronin Amano, Second Circuit Case # 12-4525), Taneja claimed that Judge Cote was biased and ignored the law and the facts. The new appeal simply adds Judge Cote’s February 22nd ruling to the earlier appeal. This isn’t the only charge of bias that Judge Cote is currently facing. Earlier this month it was reported that nine of the New York City’s top law firms including Paul Weiss, Skadden Arps, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Cravath filed appellate papers charging that Judge Cote was biased and did not follow the law (In re Federal Housing Finance, Second Circuit Docket # 13-1122).

-What makes it so absurd in this case is that this same group of attorneys was sanctioned in September by another New York federal judge.- said Taneja. In that case, Judge Bryan Cogan sanctioned the firm of Phillips & Phillips for a shakedown of Regal Cinemas (Cajamarca v. Regal Entertainment Group, EDNY, 11 cv 2870). The firm was caught misrepresenting an experienced prostitute as a virgin claiming that her alleged viewing of a male worker’s genitals for less than five minutes caused her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which she then treated by taking long vacations and engaging in S&M parties.

-In our case the defendants presented an audio tape in which you can clearly hear the girl making an offer of sex for money!- said Taneja. -And you can just as clearly hear our guy telling her to pawn one of her luxury items and pay her bill. Unbelievable. It’s caught right on tape!-

Although Taneja filed his action against the firms in a New York state court, the defendants moved the case to federal court to avoid New York’s tough anti-extortion laws. This move proved ingenious as Judge Cote immediately provided the defendants with protection from criminal laws and ethics rules.

-These guys moved the case to federal court and then promptly defaulted,- said Ronin Amano (), a plaintiff and long-time critic of the federal courts in New York. -Cote simply reopened the case for them without explanation. She’s relieved them of the criminal laws and ethics rules. She’s encouraged the use of prostitutes by attorneys looking to drum up business.-

-This appeal is of everything raised to the judge,- said Taneja, who styles himself as the -Extortion Defender.- -You have to realize that law firms are bound by the same extortion laws as everyone else. If you are making a threat to expose and embarrass someone unless they pay you money- that’s extortion plain and simple.-

Amano has been a vocal critic of the New York federal courts featured in the New York Times, spoofing a number of judges in skits featuring -Corrupt Judges United- and taking federal judges to task for sitting on cases despite conflicts of interest. In one skit, -You Pay Me You Win-, he skewered federal Judge John Gleeson, who moonlights as a professor for N.Y.U. Law, for presiding over a case brought by the N.Y.U. Brennan Center challenging New York’s judicial selection process. The Brennan Center case, which they won in front of their employee and judge assigned to the case, was later overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court. Over the years Amano has frequently challenged the Second Circuit appellate court’s decades-long R.I.C.O. rulings protecting corporate racketeering.

-Of all the federal appeals courts in the country, only the Second Circuit maintained this bizarre rule encouraging corporate racketeering.- said Amano, -After decades of inaction the Supreme Court finally struck down the Circuit’s rule- unanimously- in early 2008. But the federal judges in New York still bend over backwards to approve of corporate crime. That’s what Judge Cote is doing here.-

Amano points to Judge Cote’s finding that the firms, which share an office, had no dealings with each other. -She based this on an unsworn statement by the defense lawyer. Yet, all you have to do is go on the federal court’s computerized system and type in the firm names and you find literally hundreds of cases where the firms all appeared together representing the same clients. Same with state court.-

-She’s an old judge who is semi-retired. I think the real issue with Judge Cote is senility. She’s just not capable of performing her duties as a judge anymore- stated Amano.

In the papers filed by the plaintiffs, they theorized that the defendant law firms sent the prostitute to the plaintiff firm in order to knock a competitor out of the market. The plaintiff firm, CMH Services, competes with the defendants for discrimination clients as well as unemployment client.

Amano reiterated, -When we received the extortion demand our only option was to fight back.-

CMH Services

What Can Dui Lawyers In San Diego Do For You

Driving under the Influence or DUI as it is commonly known or referred to is a serious offense. A DUI conviction may even get you jail time and complete revocation of your license. This conviction will be a permanent record that will affect your life. In California, where owning a car is almost a necessity, officers are on the prowl, with good reason, for stopping motorists who seem to be under the influence. With the long stretches of highways and equally long commute times, it is possible for people who are tired after work to appear to be drunk but are really tired. Sometimes, they are stopped and mistakenly given a sobriety test. Not to say that the cops are infallible, but there are cases when they do make wrong arrests. In San Diego, the possibility of one getting stopped or pulled over for suspicion of DUI is enhanced because of its border with Mexico and the possibility of drivers’ crossing over that may have partied too hard makes such cops stricter. Perhaps too strict.

If ever you have been falsely arrested for DUI, it is imminent and important for you to find a great DUI lawyer in San Diego. The San Diego DUI law follows the California law on DUI which is one of the strictest and most inflexible in the country. Finding a DUI attorney in San Diego is not hard to do since the number of cases of DUI in San Diego does increase especially during long weekends and spring breaks. Although a San Diego criminal attorney is sufficient, perhaps a San Diego dui lawyer may be needed. These specialists concentrate on the specific details on DUI laws and may even get you out on technicalities.

Some of the things these dui attorneys from San Diego may use in your defense are the following:

– An insufficient or broken observation period. The police must observe you continuously for 15 whole minutes. Often times the officer may include certain times in that arrest that are not part of the whole 15 minutes.

– Activity for those 15 minutes. If you burped or belched or regurgitated during that observation period, it may have affected your test results and you may request for a retest. Either that or you can ask for a mouth rinse especially when you have burped or vomited

– Exposure to volatile fumes such as lacquer, gasoline, paint and dry cleaning fluids may cause a false reading and your behavior or movements do not match the test results

There are more possibilities or defenses against DUI and with the help of a DUI lawyer; you may avoid the unwanted mark of a conviction in your bio data.

What You Should Be Familiar With Orange County Custody Of The Children Law And Options

In the divorce case involving minors, Oc infant custody law is important. Kids are usually distracted by the contest between their parents over who and what form of custody is used. When seeking custody over your children, one thing you should establish is actually your custody case falls under the California courts and therefore Orange County family court jurisdiction. The main way of using this method is establishing how the child resides in California for a period of half a year in the event the custody proceedings begin or resided there to the period immediately prior to the proceedings start.
If your child is under few months then the state the location where the child has lived after birth will have jurisdiction over thee custody case. This period isn’t affected by temporary absence. There are additional instances the location where the court can use jurisdiction but here is the common basis.
Having established jurisdiction, you must understand that in relation to child custody, family courts in California are controlled by the child’s best interest’ standard. This basically means the court gets the discretion to provide a custody or visitation plan which is towards the child’s best health, safety, and welfare and education standards. The court’s discretion is often a wide one and unless the judge abused the discretion in most cases final so that it is a hardship on a successful appeal. Thus it is upon each parent being acting from the child’s best interest to stand a possibility of an favorable ruling.
Another critical fact you need to learn about Oc child custody laws is that they do not create a preference when offering custody based on gender or race. Financial position is also not a foundation of preference. Other concerns for example sexual orientation and religion are certainly not also considered unless there is certainly proof which it places the child under threat of harm like sexual abuse, crime or psychological abuse. If none could well be present then no consideration whatsoever is put when determining custody and visitation plans. In case of physical handicap, unless demonstrated compellingly that a parent facing physical handicap parent cannot take care of a child’s basic needs, this can be not only a factor.
In California law, parents can have either joint legal and physical custody or sole legal and physical custody. Joint custody tend to be more common and popular with California laws and invite both parents equal some time to position in selection about the child’s welfare, health, education, co-curricular activities amongst other activities. One parent cannot arbitrarily decide without informing one other. Both parents are expected to speak and co-parent and neglecting one’s role may result in one losing the custody. Occasionally, the judge may grant a few of the decisions to one parent inside the other parent is deemed unfit to share with you in those decisions. This is achieved without necessarily granting parents sole custody.
In sole custody one parent gets the mandate to produce all the important decisions affecting a young child without conferring with with the other parent. Thus one parent only gets rights to check out and spend more time the kid. Child alienation, lack of communication, domestic violence and sexual abuse, absconding duties are some of the grounds on what a parent may lose custody of the child in Orange County custody law.

Employment Lawyer-Helping Individuals in Overcoming Unfair Treatment at work

There are some people who got terminated from their job under unlawful terms. Some workers even complain regarding an unhealthy working place with discrimination and harassment everywhere. As a result, for those who have been wrongfully terminated from their job or have encountered issues at their place of work, then it is time that they have to defend their rights. The truth is, the very best strategy to do it is to solicit the help of a reliable employment lawyer./p>

Employment law, also referred to as labor law, is mainly developed to keep workers safe and make sure they are taken care of fairly. this is not a one-sided law as the rights of the employers are also protected. There are legal requirements and guidelines composed of employment law. That is why it is far better to ask for the advice when it is necessary to ensure that anyone’s right or your rights aren’t violated in the workplace. It is probable for employees to build a strong case against their company or superior if they’re carefully guided by the very best new york employment attorneys.

Having the services of a lawyer is necessary when handling complex legal matters. If you feel that you’re treated in an illegal way at your office just like complication in contracts, unfair dismissal, unjust treatment, the lawyer dealing with employment problems can present you with the very best advice to find the very best answer. Companies are aware that they are at risks for legal problems that is exactly why they also employ a team of legal professionals that could assist them fix any trouble with the law.

In addition, the employment lawyer will assure that their client will come prepared before the court. It doesn’t matter if you need to encounter your past employer in court, what is important is getting a reliable lawyer to fight for your rights.

There’s a number of NYC employment lawyers that have helped many people over the years. With their years of experience, they are fully mindful regarding the most recent updates in the employment laws. They understand how much your job means to you that is precisely why they prefer to assist you keep it or get the compensation if ever you are fired from your job unlawfully. When you hire an New York employment attorney, he or she will discuss first your issues and the explanations exactly why you needed their help. Then, the lawyer will need to dig further to your story to be able to create a solid evidence against your boss or co-workers.

The employment lawyers will not fail to bring you justice. If you’re engage in a court trial, be assured your lawyer will manage everything with full confidence.

With the services of an expert New York employment attorney, you can have the justice you deserve. With an employment lawyer, you can possibly obtain the job you like as you fight for your rights. Comprehending the legal system is challenging than one might think. With a professional employment lawyer helping you out, you have the fighting chance to raise your voice against work disputes.

There’s no doubt that you can come up with a systematic plan of action that fits your Employment Lawyer with the aid of the details and suggestions we’ve discussed in this article. It will take some failure as a way to achieve success, and you’ll get there eventually as you gain more experience. Check out the online site so you can have important information regarding Employment Attorneys, and the best methods to strategy it.

Do We Need Family Law Lawyers

Life never ceases to amaze us and that is especially true when we have a family. As much as we would like to think that all things will go smooth, it is impossible not to deal with so problems at some point. That is why we need family solicitors. They can assist in various aspects related to family law such as divorce, parenting problems, pre-nuptial agreements, financial settlements, mediation, wills and probate.

To be more specific, family solicitors can settle disputes that would otherwise escalate to unproductive conflicts for both sides. Whether you want to set things straight about child custody or claim some cash back after a divorce, they will be there to show you the path that is easiest to follow. Therefore, it is important to stop postponing the settlement of various family issues. Get in contact with a family solicitor as soon as possible and solve all your problems.

Particular care is required when the members of a family have to make some sensitive decisions about their children. If you are going through a divorce, you have to settle things in such a way so that children will not be affected by harmful separations or fights over custody. The sooner you consult yourself with a firm of family solicitors, the better.

But it is not just custody battles that can tear families apart. Sometimes financial disputes can lead to unparalleled feuds. Many a kin have spent years arguing about wills and pensions. But an experienced family solicitor can put an end to all the fight. He will examine carefully all the evidence presented and determine who is legally entitled to get the covetable sum of money. The solution will comply with all the aspects of law and will be reached in the shortest period possible.

Most people try to understand family law on their own, thinking that they will need no assistance from a lawyer. But legal procedures are very tangled, especially if one takes into consideration the jargon of the legislation. In addition, family laws must be applied in a certain way or else they are not effective. Family solicitors are able to unravel the cases that seem difficult and complex. They will keep you in the loop with every step you need to take and help you reach a resolution that is satisfactory for all family members.

In brief, irrespective of the kind of family law you require assistance for, a specialized team of solicitors will be there to offer professional guidance. So, do not let time aggravate your family affairs. Find a reliable family law company and get their valuable assistance for your peace of mind and for the own good of your family members.

Top 10 Law Office Billing Pitfalls – How You Can Avoid Them

Law firm billing and accounting requirements are inherently different from other service businesses. Even among legal practices, billing requirements can vary greatly from one area of practice to another.
Because time spent on billing and accounting is administrative and not billable, a law firm’s profitability depends on capturing all billable time and expenses, generating invoices in a timely manner and managing collection efforts proactively. Another highly important aspect that sets law firm billing apart from that of other businesses is that law firm billing and trust bookkeeping come under the purview of state ethics guidelines.
Law firms today cannot function without a legal billing software that fulfills the firm’s practice-specific billing needs and helps them avoid common billing pitfalls. The top ten most prevalent mistakes law firms make, when it comes to billing and accounting are:
Pitfall #10 Not Using Matter-Based Recordkeeping
Many service businesses perform multiple types of jobs for a customer and generate one invoice that covers everything. The same billing process does not work for law firms.
Matter based recordkeeping is unique to law firms. All transaction details must be kept at a matter level rather than client level. Law firms are usually required to keep each task (called “matter”) completely separate from other matters for the same client or other clients. For law firms, matter-based recordkeeping is critical because it allows them to produce proper records with ease for client billing inquires, billing disputes or state audits.
Pitfall #9 Not Accounting for Varied Types of Legal Matters
Accounting for retainers, time and expenses, etc. will vary depending upon the nature of the matter in question. Most law firms handle a variety of cases and use an assortment of client billing arrangements , such as hourly, retainer based hourly, fixed and contingency. A firm’s billing system must be able to handle all types of billing arrangements and the intricacies of each case.
Pitfall #8 Missing Flexibility in Setting Billing Rates
Professionals (or Timekeepers) at law firms are likely to have standard hourly rates for different tasks. An attorney billing software must be able to set Timekeeper rates accordingly, support discounted rates or a previous year’s rates for old matters, without much manual intervention.
Pitfall #7 Failure to Track and Allocate Disbursements
While law firms focus on capturing all billable hours, they often neglect to properly track and allocate expenses for billable matters. Expense tracking is just as important as time tracking. If you do not allocate expenses to a matter as expenses are incurred, you might never collect them. Matter expenses you forget to allocate are lost profits.
Expenses are typically paid in variety of ways (checks, credit cards and cash), adding another layer of difficulty. A trust account disbursement, however, is not an issue because the expense will come out of client funds.
Pitfall #6 Not Preparing Customized Professional Quality Bills & Reminders
The billing process is a direct reflection of your firm and is a vital part of your client communication. While law firms are conscious of providing top quality legal services, their high standards often fall short when it comes to client communications such as invoice and payment reminders. Not only is it important to generate invoices on a fixed billing cycle, but it also equally important to prepare professional quality invoices. Cluttered and hard to understand invoices are a recipe for late payments and client questions and are aspects of legal billing that become even more important when payments are in arrears.
Pitfall # 5 Not Utilizing Built-in Software Collection Support
Many law firms let unpaid bills pile up and end up with a collection problem. Take a proactive approach to debt collection rather than grappling with the issue after the fact. An efficient law office billing software will provide built-in collection support. Don’t wait for a billing cycle, if a matter’s unbilled balance has reached a low threshold point. Remember, bill collection is an on-going and vital practice management process.
Pitfall # 4 Not Checking for Client Conflict of Interest
For most law firms, conflict checking is a must. Your firm’s roster of clients is already available in your billing system. Instead of duplicating work, make every attempt to use the same system as a conflict checker. While developing a bulletproof conflict of interest system is challenging, development in today’s computer software makes it easy to build an integrated database that quickly identifies conflicts of interest.
Pitfall #3 Not Handling Client Advances Properly
Pitfall # 3 involves a host of potential problem areas. A law firm’s cash flow and profitability depend upon client advances (or retainers). However, from an accounting/bookkeeping perspective, client advances (retainers) need special treatment and must be handled carefully. The varied nature of client advances, an initial deposit to a trust and/or operating account, and reducing balances, as fees are earned, can significantly complicate your back office operation, if your billing system is not capable of processing retainer transactions systematically.
And, apart from itemizing legal fees and expenses, a legal time & billing software must always display remaining retainer balances on your client invoices.
Pitfall # 2 Loosing Track of Trust Funds
Every law firm endeavors to keep trust books clean and accurate, but most either fail or spend significant time and resources trying to do so. Ninety percent of the trust fund tracking battle is won, if your system provides integrated billing and trust bookkeeping . The trust bookkeeping portion of the system must prevent common trust errors (e.g. ledger card overdraft), provide a bank reconciliation tool and three-way reconciliation reports.
Pitfall # 1 Choosing Complex Software and Failure to Protect Data Integrity and Security
The most common and the most dangerous of all legal billing pitfalls include trying to cope with complex software, failure to protect data integrity and implement secure measures. Technological tools are more hindrance than help, if the tools are too complex to use. Software that isn’t user friendly and requires external consultants or trainers consumes valuable time and eats profits.
Data integrity and security are a matter of taking precautions to protect data from unauthorized access and use. You can minimize threats and easily avoid Pitfall #1, if your billing system has built-in features for controlling access to data, has checks in place for error detection and a regular data back-up function.
Reap the Benefits of Legal Billing Software Development
Computers and software have changed how companies everywhere do business. Technology today allows law firms and other businesses to compete with their larger counterparts on many levels.
Choose software with care and reap the benefits of technological developments in legal billing systems. Before you purchase legal billing software, analyze program features to ensure that the software’s design can help you avoid the ten common legal billing pitfalls. The right software will not only enhance your firm’s in-house capabilities and productivity, but will also help you comply with state ethics guidelines and increase profitability.