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NSW Law Society’s reminder to the Legal Profession about time billing practices

by on Nov.05, 2011, under Practice Management Services

For the benefit of all practitioners it is timely to be reminded of some of the principles which guide prudent solicitors using time billing.

  • The distinction between time costing (a tool of law office management) and time billing should not be forgotten.
  • Accurate and prompt recording of time, during or soon after attendance, will be vital at the time of bill preparation.
  • The client’s needs and requirements, especially demands for excessive service, should be promptly recorded at the time of taking instructions and referred to at the time of billing.
  • The client should be promptly informed of any additional work required and the need for it.
  • The various administrative and incidental expenses (including travel and photocopying) should be carefully reviewed prior to billing.
  • Sensible and realistic time billing, in accordance with the principle of fair and reasonable costs, will prevent many disputes arising.
  • The bill of costs is one of the most important documents received by the client and requires careful preparation.
  • There should be a careful balance between brevity and sufficient information in the bill of costs to enable the client to understand and appreciate the fees charged.
  • Finally, apart from time billing, the availability of alternative fee charging methods should be discussed with responsive clients when appropriate.

 

 

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