Various Listings

Listing current and finished matters.

All matters in any category can be quickly listed on the main screen by selecting the appropriate category in the category dropdown listbox on the main screen. You may wish to limit the list to current non archived matters by making sure that the tick box under the ledger type is ticked so as not to show archive matters. You can print out the listing if required.

You can select shortlisting to limit the list to closed matters only - you can then quickly list all matters closed at any time or those closed between any particular dates.

Once a matter has been closed (ie: finally billed) it is (or should be) marked as being finished - this puts a "flag" after the account number that shows it is closed. The software asks whether the matter is to be marked as finished whenever a bill is entered. Or you can do this manually by requisition to the cashier at any stage.

Any matters that have been flagged as closed then show up as such when you do a printout for any category of work.

Reports of Current Matters

If you want to see/printout a list of ONLY current matters

1. Click "Reset Shortlist" on the left of the main screen to make sure there is no shortlist

2. Click OK if needed to re-list matters (usually not necessary)

3. Select the Category of work you are wanting to look at (eg: FAM) etc

4. Make sure the check box within "Ledger Type" at the top of the screen is checked

5. A listing appears of all current matters in that category

6. You can then do a report printout with your chosen headings - or printout the list "as is"

Reports of finished matters

If you want to see/printout a list of closed matter only:

1. Select the category of work on the main screen (eg: FAM)

2. Select Shortlist -Archive Flagged.

3. When you get a dialog box asking for dates you can if you wish specify accounts closed between any particular dates - or click OK to see all closed matters

5. A listing on screen appears of closed matters only

6. You can then do a report printout with your chosen headings or printout the list "as is"

As an alternative or in addition to the above:-

Sorted list or printout

You can set up a user defined report to do a listing per category of all matters and to have them sorted on category. You will then end up with a list showing all matters sorted into batches. Then you don't need to look at each category separately.

If you do not select shortlist and have not limited the list to only current matters you will see which matters are closed and which are open by the flag.

Or you can do separate lists for open and closed matters as above.

See separate instructions on setting up user reports.

You may already have a user defined report for sorting matters by category within your existing user reports. If not we can supply a diskette to you to enable you to install a sample report layout without your having to set it up yourself.


Average Costs - Variance



C-Law 2005 has a built in time ledger which will be available for each client for whom an accounting ledger is open. This ledger is used to record time spent on each matter. The details entered are costed according to stored charge rates (at the then prevailing stored rates) and a running total is displayed at all times of the total costs due on the matter for the time spent. The entry of time details has been designed to be as easy and quick as possible and the stored charge rates per worktypes and categories assist this to be done and ensure that the cost is recorded accurately.

With legal aid type matters it is vital to ensure that the client has matter sheets opened for each legal aid category for which work is being done. This may mean several sheets for what is effectively often looked on as being the same matter.

It is also vital for each fee earner to have an effective method of recording their time so that it can be posted to the matter. There are several ways of achieving this:-

1. Each fee earner or the secretary has a computer terminal and uses C-Law Executive 99 which is connected via a network to the main C-Law data. This enables work on matters to be timed and entered as it happens - but requires a slightly computer literate fee earner!

2. Each fee earner/secretary has a paper time sheet on which they record the time spent. This must include

Date Fee Earner File Number Category Worktype Time

This is given daily to an appropriate person (probably not the cashier) to enter up on the computer. Use of C-Law Executive means the book-keeper/cashier need not be disturbed.

3. A dedicated dictating machine (eg: micro pocket model) which is used only for time recording which the fee earner uses to record time and enable this . If it is difficult or time consuming then it is counter productive and experience shows that it may not get done.

Matter ends MUST also be reported so that the matter can be marked as ended on the computer.

Time entries

The details that are stored for each entry are as follows:-

Date Category Fee earner Worktype Charge Rate Time

The date is prompted automatically as are the category and fee earner fields - the latter are prompted from the accounting header details of fee earner and category.

There are up to 36 worktypes that can be entered -eg: attending, telephone out etc. These are preselected by the user to suit the user's requirements when setting up the system. They can be selected very quickly by a one or two key code. Up to 29 extra user details can optionally be stored for each entry but be warned that doing this causes an overhead of an extra 29 characters per each entry and can therefore increase the overall size of the data on the hard disk quite significantly.

The charge rate is prompted from stored charge rate details. There are separate charge rates possible on a per worktype basis for each fee earner and category of work. This means that there are a total of nearly 12,000 individual charge rates possible.

Producing analyses of average case costs


This is a required report which should be done regularly for the Legal Services Commission. There is a spreadsheet available within C-Law 2005 which enables the average case cost to be established so that variance reports can then be produced from same.

This feeds on the costs data recorded on the computer which is tagged at the time of entry with the category of work (and fee earner) so that the computer can separate out the costs for the analysis.

Many small firms have low volumes of some categories and of course an average is then difficult to achieve that has any real meaning - and the importance of variance from a suspect or meaningless average is considered of doubtful utility! But it is believed that the LSC require the exercise to be done whatever the size of the firm.

The first thing to do is to generate average costs figures.

Choose Cashier menu and Management and Average Case Costs

The screen contains a blank spreadsheet. Click on the "Select" menu item and choose "Calculate and Define/Store averages"

The screen will say "Average Case Cost Finder". Now you must click on the "Calculate" button - BUT

before you do this you may need to put a tick in the "Use costsum" check box. This is the internal costs data summary file and until you have data stored using the new system this will have to be used.

Click on "Calculate".

Now you need to tell C-Law the expected range of costs to be included in your average. For example you might have a very high value costs case that will totally distort the average. So the next thing you need to do is to define a lower figure and an upper figure. This will ensure that costs outside this range are ignored in compiling an average.

If you don’t enter anything at this point then all costs will be included regardless of amount.

If you are using Costsum (see above) you will receive a warning that this contains interim bills and therefore the figures are averages per bill entered including interim bills. (This demonstrates the importance of using the final bill data instead of the costsum file data once you have data for this available on your system.)

Next you need to tell C-Law the period for which the average is to be produced. This obviously should be a recent period but it is suggested that at least six months is used to get meaningful figures.

You will then have to wait whilst the figures are read and the averages computed. The screen will show

No of Cases - Total Costs - Average cost (the rest not applicable here)

It is suggested that you check the range of bills at this stage. To do this click on any work category at the side of the screen and you will see a summary of the way in which bills are distributed according to amount within this category. This will give you a guide as to how your average has been produced.

If you realise that there is a distorting factor you can choose to amend the average manually. Double Click on any figure in the third column (average cost) and you can type in a different figure. Or you may prefer to re-calculate and use different criteria for the highest and lowest costs to exclude non-typical costs figures so that you get a representative average figure. Note that any costs over 10,000 will be put in the 10,000 band on this spreadsheet display.

Once you are happy with the averages - click on the File Menu and select "Save averages". This will write these averages to the hard disk.

Having done this you can now produce a variance report.


Producing Average Costs and Variance Report


This feeds on the average case costs figures you have already stored - see above. You MUST have stored averages before you can produce a variance - for obvious reasons!

Click on the "Select" menu and choose "Display Data using stored Average"

The screen will now say "Average Case Cost Report". Click on Calculate (if need be use Costsum - see above).

You can select the percentage outside the average as being a variance to report on in the box at the top of the main spreadsheet listing.

You now need to define the period you are wanting the report for. This will usually be a particular month or quarter. Put the operative dates in the box.

The figures will now be calculated for you for that month and you will see the number of cases for that month - the average cost and the number outside the average- the highest and the lowest figures.

Click on File and "Generate Report" to produce a report on screen which marks the variance from the average and flags those outside the chosen variance percentage


Itemised list of bills sent for individual fee earners 

As from Dec 2008 this simple report is available and can be called from the Cashier Management menu where it will be seen as an option. It is necessary to specify the fee earner and the period and a report of all bills found in the ledgers for this fee earner between the listed dates will be produced. 

(Note that this will only be accurate as long as the ledger account fee earner designation has not been changed)

Producing Analysis of bills sent or new matters opened

This can be done from the Cashier Management menu by choosing "Various analyses".

Producing Graphs of bills sent or new matters opened

With software updates issued from January 2009 C-Law can produce graphs and charts for you. This is described in a separate page. Click here for Graphs and Charts

Producing Reports and Pie Charts of billed percentages for Indemnity Insurance returns

C-Law can produce a graphic pie chart or a report. Go to the cashier menu and choose Indemnity Code Costs Breakdown. Then define your period. Then choose whether you want a written report or a graphic pie chart. You MUST have defined the indemnity code on each matter heading before you enter up a bill for this system to work.

Producing 'Best Client' analysis

C-Law can from 2010 produce a  "Best Client Bills Report" to aid practice management. This is available from the Cashier menu under Management.  It lists the bills per Client over the period you specify with the highest values of bills first. For this to work accurately you must not have created separate non-associated matters for the same client. Make sure all matters for the same Client are associated.

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