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Ensure You Capture All Billable Time

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Whether at the end of the day or the end of the month, hard-working lawyers often look back and wonder why their billable time just doesn’t seem to measure up to all the long hours they spend in the office. Discover ways to detect holes in your system, as well as how to develop patches for the recurring leaks you have known about and struggled with for years.

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Ensure You Capture All Billable Time

  1. 1. 1 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  2. 2. 2 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  3. 3. 3 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Avoiding the Billing Sieve and Maintaining Sanity Jacqueline S. Vinaccia Vanst Law, LLP
  4. 4. 4 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. About Our Presenter Jacqueline Vinaccia is Vanst Law’s Litigation and Trial Partner. Litigation is stressful and expensive. Ms. Vinaccia’s tenacity coupled with her compassion, prompts an honest assessment of litigations strategy, value, and cost to ensure as smooth a litigation experience as possible. Ms. Vinaccia has developed a niche practice as an Attorney Fee Auditor, saving and recovering millions for her clients at every level of litigation. She regularly writes and presents on issues of appropriate billing practices, helping attorneys survive the very same fee audits she conducts.
  5. 5. 5 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Billable Time: The Scourge of a Lawyer’s Existence Image courtesy of
  6. 6. 6 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Billing Hours is Possibly the Most Stressful Part of a Lawyer’s Job Why: ➢ Too Much Work ➢ Too Little Work ➢ Cannot Remember What You Did Image courtesy of
  7. 7. 7 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. ETHICAL BILLING RULES ABA Model Rule 1.5 ➢ Lawyer’s Fee Must be Reasonable California Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5 ➢ Lawyer Shall Not Make an Arrangement for, Charge, or Collect an Unconscionable or Illegal Fee
  8. 8. 8 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. What Drains Billable Time? ➢ Interruptions ○ People ○ Technology ➢ Inefficiency ○ Doing Too Many Things At Once ○ Partially Completed Projects
  9. 9. 9 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Interruptions: ➢ People ○ Training ○ Talking Through an Issue ■ Rarely Billable ○ Chatty Cathy ➢ The Fix ○ Close Your Door ○ Do Not Answer the Phone ○ Require People to Set Appointments
  10. 10. 10 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. More Interruptions: ➢ Technology ○ Email Notifications ○ Social Media Notifications ➢ The Effect ○ 3 Seconds to Look at the Notice ○ 3 Minutes to Open and Read the Notice ○ 23 Minutes to Get Back to Work ➢ The Fix ○ Turn It Off ○ All of It Images courtesy of Customer Paradigm and
  11. 11. 11 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Inefficiency : ➢ Doing Too Many Things at Once ➢ Leaving Tasks Unfinished ➢ The Effect ○ Start Up Time (Not Billable) ○ Forgotten Tasks Not Billed ➢ The Fix ○ One Thing at A Time ■ Not always practical ○ Finish the Awful Project Image courtesy of
  12. 12. 12 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. BEST BILLING TIP EVER! CONTEMPORANEOUS BILLING! Bill it Right After You Complete the Task! ➢ You have not forgotten ➢ You have not over billed the task ➢ You will not under bill the task Image courtesy of De Novo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog
  13. 13. 13 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Technology is Your Friend ➢ Timekeeping Programs and Apps ○ MyCase ○ Others ○ Excel ➢ Phones ○ You Can Bill Where You Are if You Put the App on Your Phone Methods for Capturing Billable Time Old School Works Too ➢ Write It Down in Your Notes ○ Creates Evidence in Your Fee Dispute ➢ Carry a Small Notebook for Writing Down Billing as It Occurs ➢ Just Record It When It Happens!
  14. 14. 14 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Collections DO: ➢ Communicate the Volume of the Task to Your Client ➢ Write Complete Descriptions of Billable Tasks ➢ Identify the Person On the Other End of the Phone ➢ Identify Which Portion of Large Tasks You are Working On (Issues Covered in Your Brief) ➢ The Volume of the Task (How Many Boxes of Documents Reviewed)
  15. 15. 15 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Not Write-Offs! Avoid: ➢ Billing Clerical Tasks ➢ Billing Intra-Office Conferencing ➢ Block Billing ➢ Vague Billing Entries ➢ Duplicate Billing ➢ Billing Each Email Review and Response Separately Image courtesy of
  16. 16. 16 2018 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Jacqueline S. Vinaccia 858 243 4299