Note: The write-down feature is available for LeanLaw Pro users only. To upgrade your subscription, visit your firm's subscription page in Settings.
A write-down is a reduction to hours billed recorded separately from hours worked, allowing you to keep records of both. Firms use write-downs in a variety of situations. For example, you may be creating invoices from your paralegal’s time entries when you see 6 hours billed for a task that should’ve taken 2. Alternatively, a client may come to you and say their finances have changed and they won’t be able to pay for 10 hours of work; rather than send the bill to collections, you can negotiate with the client and commit a write-down to their billed hours.
Because write-downs keep hours worked separate from hours billed, you can fairly pay your hourly workers even when a time entry has to be adjusted. You can compare your monthly write-down against hours billed in your firm’s Reports page by client or by user so your firm can strategize about where write-downs are occurring and how you can reduce them. The write-down feature provides you even more control over your billing and records.
This comprehensive article covers:
How to enable write-downs
Write-downs must be enabled in your firm's settings.
1. Open Settings
Open your firm's Settings page by clicking on the gear icon ⚙️ in the top right of LeanLaw.
2. Click on Reports
Once you're in your firm's Settings, look under the header Firm Setup to find and click the word Reports. This will open your Reports Settings page.
3. Check the Write-Down box
With the Reports Settings page open, you should see a checkbox next to the words "Enable Write-down for Time Entries." Write-downs will only be enabled if this box is checked: click it and you'll see a checkmark in the box. Click the green Save Changes button.
Your firm now has write-downs enabled.
How to use write-downs
Once you enable write-downs using the above guide, you can perform a write-down inside any invoice with billable hours.
1. Create a draft invoice
Hours can only be written-down during invoice creation, so create a draft invoice by going to the Ready to Bill tab of your LeanLaw Billing page and using either the step by step invoice builder or simply click the green lightning bolt next to a client or matter with a billable time entry.
2. Open the draft invoice
Now that you have an invoice draft, open it by going to the Drafts tab of your LeanLaw Billing page. It will be located in the list of draft invoices. Click on the draft.
3. Click the time entry
Now that your invoice is open, look under the Services header for the time entry you wish to write-down, and click anywhere on the time entry to open it. When you do, you should see a window open titled, "Edit line item entry."
4. Enter a write-down value
Within the "Edit line item entry" window, you'll see a field with the label WRITE-DOWN above it. Click on this box and enter the number you wish to subtract from your time entry as a write-down. This value can be any whole number or decimal value less than the number you see in the HOURS WORKED field. If you try to enter a negative value, or a value greater than the hours worked, your entry won't save.
Alternatively, you can adjust the value in the Amount field, and LeanLaw will automatically calculate a write-down for you.
5. Click Save
To save your write-down, click the green Save button. Once your write-down is saved, even if you undo the invoice in which the time entry exists, LeanLaw will remember the write-down value for whenever you decide to bill the entry, and for the purposes of your productivity reports.
Note: LeanLaw tracks your write-downs even if you undo the invoice. If you wish to remove a write-down, it can only be done within an invoice by deleting the value you entered into the write-down field in step 4.
Writing down to zero
Warning: There is no way to undo any write-downs made through Clear. Be careful when using the Clear function.
If you wish to fully write-down the hours of an invoice to 0, you can do so within the step by step invoice creator, found on the Ready to Bill page. Simply click the Clear button above your invoice items, indicated in the picture below.
The Clear button opens a window which will allow you to mark all entries as billed, write-down all entries, or mark all entries as unbillable. Clicking the write-down button in this window will write-down the hours billed for all time entries all the way down to 0. Zeroing out an invoice in this way will cause all of its hours to appear in your productivity reports as write-down hours.
Write-downs in Reports
All write-downs will appear in two productivity reports: productivity by client and matter; and productivity by timekeeper. From these reports, you can discover how many hours were written down, how much money those hours were worth, and what percentage of revenue that amount represents from the matter or the user. This section will show you where to find that information.
Productivity by client and matter
You can open your Productivity by Client and Matter report by clicking the Reports tab on the main navigation bar, finding Productivity underneath the By Client and Matter header, and then clicking on a time period to open that period's report. Alternatively, clicking this link should take you to your report for the current month.
You can use this report to view how many hours a client or matter is getting written down for a period. You can see how much money those hours represent in a dollar value. Next to the dollar value of the write-downs, you'll also see what percentage of your potential revenue from that client has been written down.
Productivity by user
You can open your Productivity by User report by clicking the Reports tab on the main navigation bar, finding Productivity underneath By User, and clicking on a period to open that period's report. Alternatively, clicking this link should take you to your Productivity by User report for the current month.
You can use this report to view how many hours a user in your firm is having written down for a set period. You can see how much money those hours represent in a dollar value. Next to the dollar value of the write-downs, you'll also see what percentage of potential revenue (Hours worked) from that client has been written down.
For a walkthrough of the feature, check out this video demonstration.