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Practical Billing Tips for Paralegals

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As courts continue to enforce the recovery of paralegal fees for many legal services, legal staff are faced with the task of billing their time. ''We're charging our time at a professional level,'' said Jeanine Rogers, President of TimeBillers, Inc., a billing service for law firms. As such, legal staff must ''be aware of their flexibility and education, of what they're providing.''

The rules behind billing are simple. Accuracy, specificity, diligence, and professionalism are all necessary for successful billing practices. "Bill promptly, bill specifically, and show value," recommended Leonard Bucklin, trial lawyer and expert on litigation management and attorney fees. Proper billing practices not only lessen client dissatisfaction and disputes over fees, but they can also help legal staff shine. "A lot of paralegals and their raises are evaluated by how many hours they put in," explained Rogers. Supervising attorneys, as well as clients billed for paralegal services, will be more satisfied with legal staff that keep close track of their time. "If you show the value that was created, it will raise your stock, whether with the attorney that was supervising or the client," Bucklin said.

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