Adding a New Matter
- Date Opened (Required): Select the date matter was first accepted. This will default to today's date, but you can change it by typing here or using the calendar drop down.
- Client (Required)): If this client is already in the program, begin typing and choose from the list. If this is a new client, click the Add Client button to add the client name and complete the contact information, then save. If you don't know the contact info, no worries, just type in the name and save, you can fill in the rest later.
- Matter Name (Required): Here you can type in a unique matter name, or use the drop-down menu to select one. You can manage and customize this list under Setup > List Items > Matter
- Trust Bank: If you plan on handling trust money for this matter, select the appropriate trust bank from this list. A matter must be linked to a trust bank in order to enter trust transactions. Also, any one matter can only be linked to one trust bank. If you have not already, you can add your trust bank under the bank tab. You can also set a default trust bank under Setup > Firm Settings > Firm Preferences
- Matter Owner (Required): Designate which Attorney is the owner of this matter. To enter Matter Owners into the program, go to Setup > Matter Owners. You can also set a default Matter Owner under Setup > Firm Settings > Firm Preferences
- Billing Method - Hourly, Fixed Fee or Contingency. Note that if you choose Fixed or Contingency, additional fields will display asking for the fee. If you are not handling billing for this matter, just leave this setting on the default item. You can change the default billing method under Setup > Firm Settings > Financial Settings
- Matter File # - If you have an internal matter number, you can enter it here. Note that the system automatically creates an additional ID number for each matter after saving for easy reference.
- Custom Labels - Here you can tag a label to the matter for easy grouping and searching. Perhaps by area of practice/case type. Click add new label and select from current labels, or create a new one. new label and select from current labels, or create a new one.
- Active - Once a case is closed (and all funds are disbursed) you can uncheck this box to make the matter inactive, essentially archiving it. You will still be able to access this matter by viewing the inactive list on the matter page.
- Apply Rate - Do you bill based on the timekeeper's rate or the rate of the task?
- Overhead Charges - If you have some sort of percentage fee you wish to be added for this matter only, enter it here. This will automatically apply it to this matters invoices. Note that this setting is also on the firm level under Setup > Firm Settings > Financial settings.
- Sub-Account Number: If your bank assigns an individual trust sub-account number to each matter/ledger card, enter it here. It would be very useful in the reconciliation reports. Sub-Acct # must be unique and duplicate Sub-Acct# under the same bank is not allowed. If you selected "separate sub-accounts" when setting up this trust bank, this becomes a required field.
- Rate Level - The default rate level for this matter (based on those entered under timekeeper). You can select level 1-8 which will apply to all timekeepers. To set up the rates for these levels, go to Setup > Timekeeper
- Tax Status & P.O Number - Available if needed.
- Localized Billing Rate - If you would like to charge a unique rate which is different from your default rates, check this box and click RATE here you can add a unique rate for each Timekeeper relating to this matter only.
- Min. Retainer Balance Required - If you frequently handle retainers (advances) and have a policy in place for a minimum requirement for all or some of your clients, you can enter the minimum amount required for this matter so that the program can track when they fall below the minimum
- Customize invoice formats just for this matter - This can be used if you wish to have a unique invoice template for this matter (different from your default template) When this is checked, it will ask which template you wish to use. These templates can be edited under Setup > Firm Settings > Invoice Templates
Only change these accounts if you need to overwrite your firm's choices.
- Default Legal Fee Income Chart Of Account - This is the income account in which all fee income paid on this matter is allocated to. This is useful for separating legal fee income by practice area. You would select that designated sub-account here.
- Default Trust Transaction Account - There are two trust accounting general ledger accounts. One is mainly for Settlements which plan to be disbursed (Client Trust Funds) and the other is mainly for funds planning on being earned (Client General Trust Retainer). This will change which account defaults when completing a trust transaction.
This tab will only display if you have eBilling turned on at the firm level (Setup > Firm Settings > eBilling Settings)
- Enable eBilling - check this box if you wish to generate eBills (LEDES98) for this matter
- Enable UTBMS - This box will automatically check if "Enable eBilling" is checked, as UTBMS codes are required, however, you can use UTBMS codes on their own without eBilling. What that will do, is provide necessary codes to choose from but no option to generate an eBill. Once this box is checked, you can select which codes you wish to use for this matter. While not required, this can simplify your code list
- Restrict Task Codes - Of the groups that you selected, you can also restrict which codes can be used. If this box is checked, you must move the allowed codes to the allowed column
Fee Allocation Tab
Within CosmoLex, you can assign commission % to Originating Attorneys, Working Attorneys, Matter Owners and Timekeepers, in order to properly distribute income to various parties.
- View Timekeeper Allocation - Here you select what the timekeeper allocation will be. The default % is indicated on the timekeeper level (Setup > Timekeeper > Edit) If you wish to have a different allocation for the matter, choose the "Individualized %" option
- View Matter Parties Allocation - Here you select parties such as Originating Attorney, Responsible Attorney, and Work Attorney. The default % for these parties can be set under Setup > Firm Settings > Financial Settings
- Notes: These are internal notes for this matter
- Area of Law: Choose an area of law for the matter.
When ready, Click Save
Editing a Matter
select the appropriate Matter and click EDIT
Associated client name can not be changed. Various information can be changed though there are limitations on changing billing method.
Deleting a Matter
Matter can be deleted only if there were no time/expense cards entered. Otherwise, Matter can only be closed or made inactive.
There are three types of billing methods to choose from when setting up your matters. To learn more about them, Read HERE