Add and Manage Matters

Introduction

A matter must be created first in order to create time cards, expense cards, invoices, trust transactions, or use the practice management tools available in CosmoLex.

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Add New Matter

Once logged in, click Matters in the left-hand menu. Click Add to create a new matter
 

Add Matter Screen

The following fields are shown on the ‘Add New Matter’ screen:

  • 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 the Matter Name list under Setup > List Items > Matter tab
  • Trust Bank: If you plan on handling trust money for this matter, select the appropriate trust bank(s) from this list. A matter must be linked to a trust bank in order to enter trust transactions. 
  • Matter Owner (Required): Designate which Lawyer is the owner of this matter. 
  • Billing Method: Select 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. 
  • Matter File #: If you have an internal matter number, you can enter it here. 
  • 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 label
  • Area of Law:  Choose an area of law associated with the matter if necessary.
  • Active – Once a case is closed (and all funds are disbursed) you can un-check 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.  

Advanced Settings

Billing Info Tab

 
  • Apply Rate: Do you bill based on the timekeeper’s rate or the rate of the task? Select your option here.
  • Overhead Charges: If you have a percentage fee for overhead charges (like charging 5% of time entries to cover a particular overhead charge for your firm) you can enter it on the matter level here. This will automatically apply it to this matter’s invoices.
    • If you have a set percentage for all matters, note that this setting is also applicable 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 will be useful in your reconciliation reports. Sub-Acct # must be unique. 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 is based on rate levels entered under timekeepers. You can select level 1-8 which will apply to all timekeepers.
  • P.O Number: Complete 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 section > Invoice Templates tab.

Accounting Tab

 
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.

eBilling Tab

This tab will only display if you have eBilling turned on at the firm level (Setup > Firm Settings section > eBilling tab). Not sure about this? Learn how to Set Up and Manage eBilling (LEDES)

  • 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. Not sure about this? Learn more about Fee Allocation.

  • 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 section > Financial Settings tab.

General Tab

 
  • Notes: These are internal notes for this matter 
 
Tax Tab
 

Tax Status: Choose a whether to set the matter as taxable, non-taxable, or Out-of-State.

Localized Tax Rate: Select this if you wish to override the tax rates for this matter. These unique rates will then be used for this matter’s time cards only.

When finished adding your matter, Click Save.

Editing a Matter

  1. Select the appropriate Matter and click Edit
    • Most information can be edited but keep in mind the associated client name can not be changed. If any billable items have been entered, you will not be able to edit the billing method on the matter.

Deleting a Matter

  1. Select the appropriate Matter and click Delete
    • Matter can be deleted only if there were no time/expense cards entered. Otherwise, Matter can only be closed or made inactive.
Updated on July 10, 2018

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