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Online Billing = peace of mind

By June 28, 2011Uncategorized

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans I was practicing law with the BigFirm, and was that an eye-opening experience in the world of disaster recovery. The best "disaster-recovery" system is one that minimizes the effects of a disaster, sometimes to the point of having no effect at all.

I remember the great consternation caused by BigFirm's time and billing system being down for two weeks after the hurricane. Pretty much all the law firms in New Orleans had this problem, so it wasn't unique to my firm.

After Katrina I decided to go out on my own, since I wanted to change the way I practiced law. I learned a lot at BigFirm, but it was time for a new challenge. Mainly, I wanted to learn how to leverage technology to practice law more effectively, and with less stress.

Foremost in my mind was the memory of how hard it was for the firm to collect money after Katrina because of having its billing system crippled by the storm. That's when I decided that I would use some sort of cloud-based billing system. At the time the only one that I knew of was Timesolv, and so that's what I used.

Timesolv was great, and the support was fantastic. So I had no issues with using them, and probably would still be using them today. But a few years ago two new companies popped up that created billing systems designed specifically for the legal profession: Clio and Rocket Matter. I was wary of changing my billing system once I'd gotten used to how it worked, but I was intrigued by the prospect of a service geared to my practice.

I opted for Clio, after trying both systems out. I liked them both, and I'm sure that Rocket Matter would be fine if I had continued using it. But Clio was a little less expensive, and I knew that it'd do all the things I needed.

I've been using Clio for almost a year now, and I can't say enough good things about it. Entering time is easy, and tweaking things is easy too. My bills look great (you can tweak the templates in lots of ways), and it's easy to keep track of trust accounting. Clio even lets me do LEDES billing, which I try to avoid but unfortunately have at least one client that requires it. In short, Clio makes the part of my practice that least enjoy (but which is of paramount importance) pretty stress-free.

Best of all, having my billing system in the cloud gives me security from the usual raft of disasters that crop up from time to time. No system is completely free from disaster, but I'm pretty sure the Clio folks are better at ensuring backups and fail-safe systems are in place than I am. Hell, they're probably better at it than large law firms like the one I used to work for.

Another example of how my solo law practice is, in many ways, more powerful than the BigFirm I used to be part of.

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