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Here are the top five ways to create an effective billing system according to Reid Trautz of the D.C. Bar’s Lawyer Practice Assistance Program: 1. Write clear, legally solid fee agreements. Avoid jargon and write to set the tone for the attorney-client relationship. Make sure the agreement complies with local professional conduct rules. 2. Develop a set of written billing procedures. This will ensure that billing is done uniformly and efficiently each month. 3. Write bills that “project effort.” Include detailed descriptions of activities that show clients what they are paying for. 4. Record time use contemporaneously. This will eliminate later guesswork and lower the possibility of inaccurate billing. 5. Use the report functions of time and billing software to track accounts receivable. This makes it easier to see who is paying and when and which clients and matters are most profitable.

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