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New in LeanLaw: October 2021
New in LeanLaw: October 2021

Release notes: hourly allocation, Auto-Assign Users to Matters, quality of life changes, and more!

Doug Schmierer avatar
Written by Doug Schmierer
Updated over a week ago

What’s new in LeanLaw this month?

Block Billing

If you like to enter multiple tasks in single time entries, you'll love this feature. Our new block billing feature automatically adjusts the Hours of a time entry with every number typed inside of a bracket--for example, if you type, "Phone call with William Butler Yeats reviewing defense [.3] Drafted email with William Shakespeare regarding the same [.2]" that time entry will automatically adjust to a total of .5 hours. A more detailed guide is available here.

Block billing is automatically enabled, currently only supports brackets [ ], and will deactivate for the remainder of any time entry once the Hours field has been manually adjusted in any way.

Hourly allocation in fixed fees

LeanLaw already supported the ability to set your fixed fee allocation by manually setting the amount for each user or by setting percentages for each user. Now, you can click on the percentages column to allocate a fixed fee by the hours each user worked on the fixed fee. LeanLaw will use the hours you enter to calculate the amount each user earned based on an even rate for all users.

For now, this feature only works with hours you enter into the Revenue Allocation tab of the fixed fee, but we plan to automate this based on the hours you assign to the fixed fee.

For more information on fixed fee allocation, click here!

Auto-Assign Users to Matters

We’ve added a new permission that allows users to assign themselves or others to a matter automatically when by making a time entry or expense for that matter.

Normally, if a user selects someone in their firm who isn’t currently assigned to a given matter, the user won’t be able to then select that matter for the time entry or expense. However, when this permission is enabled for a role, anyone in that role will be able to select themselves or others for any matters when creating time entries or expenses. As soon as the time entry or expense is created, LeanLaw will create the entry and automatically add that user to the matter, at the same time.

To enable Auto-Assign Users to Matters

To enable Auto-Assign Users to Matters, go to your firm’s Settings page by clicking the gear icon ⚙️ in the top right corner. From the left-most column of the Settings page, click User Permissions. Then, click on the right-facing arrow next to Clients and Matters to expand the list, and click the checkbox for any role in your firm you wish to enable this feature.

For more information on user permissions, click here!

Quality of life Changes

We've made some changes to the product which will hopefully make your life easier.

  • Write-downs can now be performed by reducing the value in the Amount field of a time entry in a draft invoice state. All you have to do is reduce the Amount and LeanLaw will automatically enter the hourly equivalent in the Write-down field.

  • Short codes can now be used between lines of text. Before, short codes would only expand into snippets if they were the last line of text in the entry. Now, you can insert short codes between lines of text too, as long as there’s a space before the code and you finalize the short code with another space!

  • Enforced rounding. Whether your firm uses .1 or .25 hourly rounding, you can now enable enforced rounding, which will make it so LeanLaw won't accept any time entry that isn't an increment of your preferred rounding. To enable enforced rounding, go to the Firm Info page of your Firm Settings.

What’s next?

We have some exciting features being beta tested right now. Some firms are already trying out these features, but they’ll be available for all once we know they’re bug free. Contact our support team if you’re interested in trying any of these beta features.


Much like we currently do for Responsible and Originating, we’re adding the ability to flag and filter users as a matter’s Reviewer. The intention is to support firms with invoice workflows that require someone to review and approve a draft invoice before it can be finalized. A Reviewer’s initials will show up at the top of all draft invoices for which they’re the reviewer (but will not appear in the finalized invoices), and will be a filter in Reports and in the invoice workflow. This way, as a Reviewer, you can hide all but the invoices that you need to review!

Deposit Report

Our new deposit report can be sorted by your operating account or by your trust account(s). When viewing the operating account, you’ll see all payments made for all matters in the firm. When viewing a trust account, you’ll see all trust deposits recorded in LeanLaw. We hope this report makes your lives a little easier when you’re verifying accounts.

QuickBooks Status Dots

Something our users have missed in our new and improved client and matter layout is the column on the Matters page that showed whether a matter was connected, had a broken connection, or hadn’t yet been connected to QuickBooks. We’ll soon be bringing this feature back with an added filter so you can sort out the Matters that need attention!

Public API

We’re continuing to develop our public API that allows the retrieval of bulk information from firms, such as client contact information, client and matter lists, and more. Developers can use this to securely integrate LeanLaw with other programs, like Sharepoint. The API is in closed beta; please contact LeanLaw if you're interested in exploring it.

Update history

As always, we’ve also been hard at work to squash bugs and improve the UI. Here are the patch notes for last month’s development.

October 29, 2021

  • Fixed an issue that caused users to encounter a security certificate warning when accessing support documentation from certain pages.

  • Improved descriptions and other text in the QuickBooks Settings page, in the Client Info page, and in the description for Internal matters.

  • Added a feature that allows you to enforce your rounding settings, making it so all time entries must be in increments of .1 or .25 (depending on your rounding settings).

  • Added support for more than two initials to Originating and Reviewer initials on a matter's page.

  • Fixed a bug where write-downs would sometimes appear with 6 or more decimal places

  • Separated Client and Matter columns into Client, Client ID, Matter, and Matter ID columns for all exported .csv files from the Billing page.

  • Added support for firms with a certain trust account configuration so that their deposits and payments no longer appear reversed.

  • Added the block billing feature to the web application.

October 25, 2021

  • Fixed an issue where deselecting a user in “Matters for user” filter when you had “Responsible” checked would cause no results

October 22, 2021

  • Fixed an issue that caused errors when creating time entries in the mobile app.

October 20, 2021

  • Fixed an issue that caused the Time Entries page to not load.

  • Added the ability to appoint Reviewers inside a matter and then filter invoices by Reviewer. This feature is in beta for the moment.

October 18, 2021

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the Review tab of Billing from loading.

  • Fixed an issue that would cause unallocated fixed fees or expenses imported from QuickBooks to not show up on their matter's Overview tab if they were the only WIP items for that matter.

October 15, 2021

  • Added invoice summary option to invoices in the Billing workflow.

  • Added more descriptive error messages to some errors, making it easier to understand why the error occurred.

  • Fixed an issue where users with custom/overridden rates at the matter level would pull blank amounts by default when creating a time entry for those matters, resulting in time entries switching themselves to nonbillable.

October 12, 2021

  • Added the Auto-Assign Users to Matters permission and supporting mechanisms.

October 8, 2021

  • Added more functionality to Fixed Fee's Revenue Allocation. Now, in addition to allocating by percentages, you can allocate by hours worked. We plan to automate this with the hours tracked in LeanLaw. However, for now, you'll still have to type in the hours worked on the fixed fee’s Revenue Allocation tab.

  • Write-downs can now be done in Drafts by reducing the value in the Amount field. If you enter a new amount in the Amount field, LeanLaw will automatically create Write-down hours based on the difference between the anticipated amount and the amount you enter.

  • Fixed an issue in Period Report that caused write-down hours to not appear if the write-down was the user’s only time entry for the matter.

  • Expanded LEDES codes dropdowns in some places to make the codes easier to see.

  • Added clarity to the functions "Adjust to zero" and "Include Non-billable" on Ready to Bill.

  • Fixed an error in trust statements and reports that prevented them from loading.

  • Fixed an issue with rate dropdown under time entry not always showing correct rate.

October 2, 2021

  • Fixed an issue that caused invoice creation to error if you used the “step by step” invoice creator.

  • Added “billing period” option to custom fields.

October 1, 2021

  • Added the ability to use short codes between lines of text, rather than only at the end of text.

  • Fixed an issue causing the (beta) QuickBooks Validation feature to sometimes show bad connections for matters with client-accounting.

  • Fixed an issue that caused new time entries created on the Time Entries page to be billable at $0 per hour if the user created a billed entry, a non-billed entry, and then a third entry for the same matter and user without checking Billable.

Looking for more? You can find last month's release notes here.

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