December 2010

What Makes Legal Time Management Different From the Rest (Part 2 of 3)

Yesterday, our post discussed how effective billing systems are more important for lawyers than for almost every other industry.

Today, we’ll discuss the reasons for this that are specific to the law.

REASON #3: Disputes. Legal fees come under scrutiny more than with any other industry. You can find your fees being examined for any variety of reasons, between:

1.      Parties to an action, especially when one party bears partial or all legal costs

2.      You and your client

3.      You and the ethics department of your state bar.

Ask any lawyer who’s been through it: under the bright floodlights, the pen-and-paper or crowded-spreadsheet model simply doesn’t work to substantiate your fees. But the specificity of Easy Soft’s Easy Time & Billing Software will.

REASON #4: Collections. It’s been documented: legal fees are harder to collect than fees for most other industries. With fees commonly climbing into the six- and seven-figure ranges, it’s not uncommon for clients to be either unable or unwilling to pay.

The most effective attorney billing software incorporates simple invoice and payment reminders. Not only is this seamless—it adds clarity, easy of understanding, and professionalism.

Send out clear, easy-to-understand, timely bills, and your firm is more likely to receive timely payments. Send out reminders, and accounts in arrears are more likely to get paid.

Easy Soft’s Easy Time Bill Software does all of this and more.

In our next post, we’ll talk about the options for various legal billing software systems.

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What Makes Legal Time Management Unique (Part 1 of 3)

If you’re a lawyer who bills, time is your inventory. This isn’t unique to the law, of course. But more than with any other industry, efficient legal billing systems are paramount. Why is this?

The more generic reasons for this are listed below.

REASON #1: It’s Just Good Business. Efficient billing tightens processes and introduces natural efficiencies into your business model. More than with any other industry, your legal time and billing software must be able to handle a variety of billing and fee arrangements.

For example, it should know the difference between straight and retainer hourly billing. It should also be capable of recording time by matter-not simply by client. In law, ‘matter’ informs everything: from billable rates (with premiums or discounts built into certain matters) to billing frequency, to staffing and type of case. It should have an easy repository for tracking and allocating expenses such as court fees, witness fees, couriers, and travel-as soon as they are incurred.

Carefully developed with a team of seasoned lawyers and other legal experts, Easy Soft’s Easy Time Bill Software does both these things and much more.

REASON #2: Time Is Money. This isn’t just true for you – but true for your client, too. Less time spent billing-and fixing complicated billing errors-isn’t just time in your pocket, its money in the pocket for your client. In one fell stroke, you can use effective legal billing software-such as Easy Time Bill-to dispel an important fiduciary duty-and spend less time on administrative matters.

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U.S. Divorce Lawyers: How Divorce Financial Software Makes Life Easier For Your Client (Part 2)

Even if math doesn’t intimidate you, even if your law firm partner is a tax lawyer willing to lend his or her expertise, even if you are capable of conducting complex calculations with a calculator (or a pencil!), even if your opposing counsel is the one doing the math: it is essential for your client that you obtain our divorce settlement and planning software. Why?

The first reason is easy. Some clients simply don’t want to pay for a CPA or a tax attorney. Either they can’t afford the additional fees (paying your fees is already a stretch), or they’d rather pocket the cost—or expand their budget toward battling smarter and harder.

Divorce Financial Software allows you to handle the entire engagement – without need for a tax expert in normal cases. So it’s a clever marketing vehicle for your practice – especially when competing for work against other divorce lawyers.

For clients that are willing to pay for a CPA or tax attorney, our divorce settlement and planning software is still a good idea. It allows you as divorce counsel to have an independent opinion of any proposed settlement.

Around the nation, even CPAs dealing with divorces rely on Divorce Financials Software to analyze financial data and tax ramifications in divorce cases. If CPAs have this software, why shouldn’t you?

Click here to learn more and take a tutorial about how easy this software is to use and benefit from.

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U.S. Divorce Lawyers: Do You Feel Like You Play An Accountant on TV? (Part 1)

If you’re a divorce lawyer practicing family law anywhere in the U.S., you probably feel like you need a degree in accounting or tax law.

Figuring out the best financial options for a client going through a divorce involves a decent knowledge of U.S. Tax Code, the know-how to perform present and future value calculations and model various allocation scenarios, and a crystal ball that can predict future tax rates. If that’s not downright over the top, it is often over the heads of you and your smartest associates and paralegals.

Divorce Financial Software makes the job easy. At a basic level, this divorce settlement and planning software does exactly that: it simplifies financial modeling for divorces to facilitate and support your professional advice and counsel.

For one thing, you can see clearly and precisely what the real-world impact of a given settlement will be. The software is smart enough to show you five settlement scenarios simultaneously, and it’s sophisticated enough to only show deductions permitted in a given party’s selected state. Not only will it present favorable alimony v. child support combination for the paying spouse (a huge boon if he or she is your client), it will also show you how the receiving party will fare.

But that’s just the beginning of the power of our divorce planning software. Recent case law has ruled that ‘ability to pay’ and ‘lifestyle needs of the alimony claimant’ are the two primary factors in calculating alimony payments. If you know the alimony claimant’s budget (and many states do not specify a formula for computing alimony), the software is capable of going backwards—and conducting a reverse calculation. The resulting report sets forth 5 alimony scenarios and their affect on taxes, child support payments, and other variables.

Divorce Financial Software also compares a stream of payments with the alternative: a lump sum settlement. With party’s’ current and future tax brackets and the money discount factor, you are able to present side-by-side options for a periodic alimony v. a lump sum amount. Ditto for future pension streams!

This post has been about how necessary Divorce Financial Software is for the divorce lawyer. Our next post will address the advantages your client enjoys when you possess this divorce software.

Click here to learn more and take a tutorial about how easy this software is to use and benefit from.

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Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyers: Get Yourself A PA Child Support Calculator

Make a $50 mistake in a bankruptcy case: that’s a one-time mistake. In a divorce settlement, the same mistake may cost your client—and his or her children—up to $50 per week, for years. That’s a cost you have to live with.

The solution is to be dead accurate every time. Right?

If you’re a divorce attorney practicing family law in Pennsylvania, you know that’s easier said than done. Pennsylvania divorce calculations are complicated. Even if you’re a bona fide math whiz (given that you went to law school, we’re guessing you’re not), computations for base figures—such as net disposable income or assets & liabilities distribution—can make your head spin.

But properly planned divorce settlements result in higher disposable incomes for both parties—and lower tax liabilities. Helping clients find a divorce settlement that minimizes their tax obligations is not only a matter of professional responsibility: it’s an economic reality.

On December 6, 2010, Easy Soft launched a software package to make things easy. EzSupport-PA, a Pennsylvania Family Law Software is designed for divorce lawyers—not CPAs or tax attorneys. Coupled with the Divorce Financials program, PA lawyers get every tool they need for their family law practice. The software:

  • Captures all case information from the outset—and uses it to populate forms, statements, pleadings, and the like.
  • Adjusts support calculation for shared parenting, multiple families, excess mortgages, and the like.
  • Allows you to prepare multiple support scenarios, compare and pick the best option.

Once you’ve entered the information, ourPennsylvania divorce law software does the heavy lifting. The resulting worksheet details a variety of scenarios. For each scenario, it provides a statutorily precise bottom line: one number for spousal support, and another number for child support.

Easy—just like our name.

What’s more, the new Pennsylvania Family Law Software isn’t just a powerful divorce calculator: it provides you an opportunity to automate Pennsylvania family law forms, too. These include:

  • Pleadings: Complaints. Answers. Claims. Counterclaims. Motions. Notices. Summons.
  • Supporting Documentation: Income Statements. Expense Statements.
  • Correspondence: Letters. Responses.

You can virtually add any type of form and use case data to auto populate your forms.

Easy Soft has been around for 25 years. We’re stable, and we’re competent. We began working with family law and divorce attorneys 20 years ago. We know the challenges of your practice.

Our divorce law software is thorough—and it works. Our portfolio consists of the Divorce Financials product—applicable to all 50-states—and state-specific divorce and support solutions for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and soon Arizona. Add practice management software such as legal billing software, attorney trust account software, and the like, and we are a one-stop shop.

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Family Law Practice Automation Webinar – Free Webinar for Pennsylvania Law Firms

Pennsylvania family law attorneys must be adept at many intricate support and settlement related financial calculations to help clients reach optimum divorce settlements. State guidelines are intricate and are comprised of numerous calculations and adjustments (e.g. multiple family, excess mortgage, shared custody, custodial parent paid alimony, etc.).

Additionally, family law practice requires production of many standard forms (such as income/expense statements) and correspondence documents (letters, complaints, responses, counterclaims, etc).

Regardless of whether you are a novice or an expert on the above topics, this 60-minute free webinar will provide a wealth of information that will assist you in arriving at better divorce settlements for your clients and more efficient office operations. The hands-on webinar will show you how you:

  • How to efficiently collect and enter case data.
  • How to prepare support worksheets systematically and accurately.
  • How to prepare multiple worksheet scenarios and locate best option for your client.
  • How to organize and produce all required family forms at one place and from one set of data.
  • How to perform common divorce settlement related calculations such as:
    • Compute net disposable income for both parties for variety of spousal/child support scenarios.
    • Compute required alimony based on recipient’s budget needs.
    • Determine alimony-child support tradeoffs to locate a better tax optimized settlement option.
    • Distribute assets and liabilities efficiently.
    • Compute present value of the alimony and propose buyout options.
    • Compute present value of a defined pension benefit and propose buyout options.
    • Analyze lifestyle based on historic income/expenditure and determine a party’s financial ability or need.

Turbo Charge Your Family Law Practice. Reserve a Seat Today, FREE.

Register for this interactive webinar and learn how you can automate various steps in your own Family Law Practice. You can enroll online. We’ll email instructions to join the class. For Questions call 800-905-7638.

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