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How to Write a Lawyer Invoice

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Last editedJun 20222 min read

The ability to track billable hours and issue accurate invoices is vital for any law firm’s accounting team. A lawyer’s invoice might vary slightly depending on the cases and clients, but will follow the same general format. Here’s how to write an invoice for legal services, including a sample and template.

When should you issue a solicitor’s invoice?

The timing and structure of your legal invoice will depend on the nature of your work. Large law firms will often work on long-term, complex cases that involve a great deal of research and paperwork. In these cases, recurring invoices are usually the best option, sent at regular intervals to improve cash flow.

Freelance legal consultants might work on smaller projects or simply provide advice to their clients as a one-off. In this case, the solicitor’s invoice is typically issued as soon as the services have been provided.

Whether you’re billing for ongoing work or a standalone service, the invoice should show a clean, itemised breakdown of all services - including billable hours, applicable taxes, and total amount due. This serves as the basis for accounting reports and tax returns, so it’s important to issue all invoices in a timely manner.

What is a professional legal invoice format?

We’ve covered the difference between recurring and standalone invoices above, but there are a few other types to be aware of when selecting the best legal invoice format.

  • Standard invoices show an outline of services, amount owed, and payment due date.

  • Time-based invoices show a breakdown of billable hours and their corresponding rates.

  • Interim invoices collect partial payment for work done until that point in time, typically as part of a long-term project.

  • Final invoices charge for the remaining costs of a long-term project once it is complete.

  • Prepaid invoices collect an upfront deposit before the service is provided.

In terms of formatting, here’s a law firm invoice sample to show what a time-based standard invoice might look like in practice:

LEGAL INVOICE

Invoice Date: MM/DD/YYYY

Invoice Number: 123456

Law Firm Name

Business Address

Contact Details

Client Name

Client Contact Details

 Payment Terms: Net 30

Due Date: MM/DD/YYYY

Item Description

Billable Hours

Rate per Hour

Amount

Legal Consultation

10

£100.00

£1000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subtotal

£1000.00

 

 

Tax

£0.00

 

 

BALANCE DUE

£1000.00

Notes: (Privacy policy, discounts applied, payment methods, etc.)

How to use a legal invoice template

There’s a wealth of free templates available from law firm invoice generators. For a straightforward invoice template, download and fill in the blanks. No matter the template you choose, all invoices should include standard fields where you can add in the following elements:

  • Business logo and name

  • Law firm contact details

  • Client contact details

  • Unique invoice number, date, and payment due date

  • List of services or hours worked

  • Rates for each service or billable hour

  • Total amount due (including taxes if required)

  • Payment terms and conditions

Tips for invoicing and collecting payment

Accounting software is highly recommended for independent solicitors and major law firms alike, as it automates and streamlines your bookkeeping and billing processes. This presents a more professional image to clients, while ensuring no little details get overlooked. Here are a few final tips to make the most of this legal document:

  • Show the trust balance on your invoice if you’re working on retainer. This way, customers will know what they’ve paid and how much is left to pay. This helps with budgeting for both parties.

  • Be detailed with your description of services rendered, particularly if you charge per service rather than per billable hour. Describing the tasks in an itemised lists makes it very clear what a client is paying for.

  • Make payment as easy as possible, preferably with an online bank transfer. Clicking a link to pay encourages customers to pay in a timelier manner, improving your law firm’s cash flow. According to a GoCardless report regarding payment preferences, bank debit was widely preferred by UK customers. GoCardless enables law firms to collect payments directly with pull-based direct debit, ensuring fast, easy collection every time.

A blend of automated billing software and easy online payments ensures your legal invoicing will run more smoothly than ever.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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