For many law practices, getting paid is the bane of their existence. TimeSolv, a provider of cloud-based billing and timekeeping software for law firms, aims to fix that with the release today of Zero AR, a patent-pending feature that automates batch invoicing and electronic payments.

The feature enables firms to instantly process electronic payments for hundreds of invoices in one click. The feature enables firms to get paid sooner and collect a higher percentage of their billable work, TimeSolv CEO Raza Hasan told me during a demonstration on Friday.

“Law firms have an AR problem,” Hasan said. Legal billing is 20 years behind other industries, such as medicine, where the process is much more automated.

One lawyer who has used this Zero AR method, David Johnson, CEO of Modern Family Law in Denver, says it has allowed his practice to achieve a 97 percent collection rate, and that clients appreciate the additional payment options available to them. “By converting our clients to e-payments and using electronic batch invoices, we get paid on our terms and have reduced our billing and processing time from a few days to a few hours.”

Run batch payments with one click.

The key to this feature is the combination of batch invoicing and batch payment processing, together with automated messaging to clients. While the ability to generate batch invoices is not unique, the ability to then bulk-process payments is.

To use this feature, a firm would first use TimeSolv’s batch-invoicing feature to generate all its monthly invoices. The firm can review individual invoices if it wishes, but when it is ready, it would click “send” to email the invoices to clients.

These invoices would contain a message asking the client to review the charges and informing the client that if no objections are raised within five days, the client will be charged using the payment method on file. (The firm can customize this message however it wishes.)

After five days, the firm can then go into TimeSolv, select all the invoices for which it has a client payment method on file, and click the “charge” button. Immediately, TimeSolv begins processing all those payments. TimeSolv then automatically sends the client an updated invoice showing the account as paid.

Use of this feature requires that the firm have the elements in place beforehand. These include:

  • An account with an electronic payment processor. Hasan recommends LexCharge, which is owned by the same company that owns TimeSolv, ProfitSolv. But TimeSolv also integrates with LawPay.
  • Each client’s electronic payment method on file, either credit card or e-check.
  • The client’s authorization to charge in this manner. Hasan says this, ideally, should be spelled out in the retainer agreement. For existing clients, TimeSolv can automatically send them a form to authorize payments by this method.

This feature, for which TimeSolv has applied for a patent, is now live on the platform and available to all TimeSolv customers at no additional charge.

Hasan says Zero AR should increase a firm’s revenue by 15-20%. The advantages it offers firms, he says, include:

  • Firms control when they get paid.
  • They no longer need to chase clients for payments.
  • They no longer need to manage payments and replenishments out of trust accounts.
  • They know sooner when clients are not paying.
  • They have better overall relationships with their clients.

“Zero AR represents a fundamental shift in the way the legal industry should approach accounting and collection functions,” Hasan said. “The time has come for law firms to adopt remote, contactless payments so attorneys have control over when they get paid.”

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.