LeanLaw Review: Features, Pricing & Alternatives 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
What We Like
- Offers full-featured accounting with QuickBooks Online integration
- Reconciles trust accounts automatically
- Has a user-friendly interface and a simple layout with no unnecessary features
- Is more affordable than most similar programs
- Offers plenty of insight tools on its Reports page
- Provides free online masterclasses that discuss features in detail
- Requires a separate subscription to QuickBooks Online to perform general accounting tasks
- Has advanced reporting only in the higher plan
- Lacks a customer relationship management (CRM) system and client intake forms
- Lacks case and matter management features
- Lawyers and law firms using QuickBooks Online: LeanLaw’s integration with QuickBooks Online provides full-featured accounting, including check printing, three-way bank reconciliation, and invoicing.
- Attorneys who manage relatively simple or routine legal issues: Lawyers managing simple cases like wills or uncontested divorces usually charge flat fees. LeanLaw lets you track time against fixed fees easily.
- Law firms that need an approval workflow for sending invoices: LeanLaw allows the billing partner to make adjustments to time and expenses before they’re added to an invoice.
- Solo practitioners who want simple time tracking: If you’re a solo practitioner that only needs to track time spent on a legal matter and calculate billable hours based on hourly rates, then LeanLaw’s Core plan is enough for you.
- Lawyers and law firms looking for an all-in-one software: If you prefer a solution that doesn’t require a separate subscription to an accounting program, you should consider CosmoLex.
- Law firms that require matter management: LeanLaw is strictly for timekeeping, billing, and accounting. If you’re looking for a platform for managing case-related matters and organizing documents, check out PCLaw, our overall best law firm accounting software.
- Law firms that work with contract lawyers or outside counsel: LeanLaw has no client portal to share files with your client or co-counsel. Zola Suite includes a dedicated client portal that can also be used by a co-counsel.
Do you need something different? If you think you’ll be better served by general-purpose accounting software, then explore our evaluation of the best accounting software for small businesses.
LeanLaw Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Solo practitioners and small and medium-sized law firms, especially those using QuickBooks Online accounting software
14 days; you may also request a demo to see how it works before buying
Phone support, email, live chat, chat support, paid onboarding sessions, and self-help materials, including online masterclasses
LeanLaw Notable New Features for 2023
- Improved Expenses page: In the previous version of LeanLaw, all expenses load when you click on the Expenses page. The new version now displays this information on a page-by-page basis, which is a useful tool for businesses with many expenses.
- Custom fields in invoice memos: You can now insert custom fields in your memos; the old version only had three fields.
- Enhanced email delivery features: The new version lets you change the color of the Pay and Pay Balance buttons in emails so that you can match them to your brand.
- Easier Gravity Legal integration process: LeanLaw integrates with Gravity Legal, a credit and debit card and bank transfer acceptance platform designed for law firms, to automate the process of requesting and accepting trust payments. Integrating the two required several steps in the old version, so LeanLaw is making some changes to develop a deeper integration feature, which you can access from the Setting page.
Client Intake Forms
Integrates with QuickBooks Online
From $13 per month
LeanLaw is offered in two packages, LeanLaw Core and LeanLaw Pro, which cost $50 and $65 monthly, respectively, when billed monthly. Core includes basic features, such as timekeeping, invoicing, and QuickBooks Online integration, whereas Pro offers more functionality, such as Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) billing and advanced reporting.
You can try either of the two plans for free for 14 days. You may also schedule a personalized demo so that you can check out the product before buying.
QuickBooks Online Pricing
All four QuickBooks Online versions integrate with LeanLaw. The best version depends on your firm’s size and operational workflows, and it’s best to involve your accountant or bookkeeper in the decision-making. You can learn more about the different versions in our Quickbooks Online comparison guide.
Below is a quick breakdown of QuickBooks Online pricing:
- Simple Start: $30 per month for one user
- Essentials: $55 per month for up to three users
- Plus: $85 per month for up to five users
- Advanced: $200 per month for up to 25 users
New users can choose between 50% off for three months or a 30-day free trial. Read our review of QuickBooks Online to see if you can leverage it along with your LeanLaw account.
LeanLaw helps you transform QuickBooks Online to fit the needs of your legal practice. It adds timekeeping, billing, invoicing, and trust accounting features that are particularly useful for law firms and practicing attorneys.
LeanLaw’s dashboard provides quick access to the most commonly used features, including a calendar with timers, recorded time entries, expenses, billing, clients, and matter management. You can also access different reports, including reports by client and matter, reports by responsible lawyer, and other accounting reports.
While the simple dashboard may appeal to new law firms and practitioners, more established law companies with multiple clients and heavy projects might look for a more comprehensive alternative. For instance, PCLaw has a more robust dashboard, including dashboards for managing clients and law practices and for viewing recent activities. Also, unlike most similar programs, LeanLaw has no document management feature.
LeanLaw’s unique strength is its deep integration with QuickBooks Online, which not only simplifies your legal accounting but also your legal billing workflow. Enter your time in LeanLaw, and it’ll be pushed to invoicing automatically and then straight to your QuickBooks Online account. With QuickBooks Online plus LeanLaw, you won’t be dealing with two sets of books as data is always in sync. You can connect LeanLaw to any QuickBooks Online account.
To help you bill clients properly, LeanLaw allows you to track hours in multiple ways, including a time tracker mobile app, calendar view with timers, and a web app pop-up. These tools help you check if there are gaps in your billable hours so that they can be remedied immediately. Bulk time entry is also included in all LeanLaw subscriptions.
From the web dashboard, you can track time using the timer or by manually entering your working hours. To track time using the timer, go to the Calendar tab, and click on the Start New Timer button located below the calendar.
Another option is to enter the time you’ve worked using worksheets manually. To do this, select the Time Entries tab, and enter the number of hours you worked for a certain client and matter. All time entries recorded can be tracked on the Time Entries page.
Billing & Invoicing
LeanLaw follows LEDES and American Bar Association (ABA) standards for billing and invoicing clients. You can add standard litigation, patent/intellectual property, and bankruptcy codes to your billings to ensure that they’re compliant with LEDES and ABA standards. Electronic invoices are then generated automatically and submitted to LEDES billing systems, including Legal Tracker, eCounsel, Lawtrac, and CounselLink.
Billing & Invoicing Workflow
Once a new time entry is created, it goes to the Ready To Bill tab under the Billing section automatically. From the Ready to Bill tab, you need to pick a client or matter to bill and then click on the arrow on the left side, which will then lead you to the screen where you can edit and format your invoice. Click Prepare Invoice, and you’ll be redirected to the Draft Invoice screen.
From the Draft Invoice screen, you can make adjustments to your invoice, including the description, time, and billed amount. Once you’re happy with the invoice, click on Create Draft Invoice. Your invoice will then move to the Drafts tab for approval. Once approved, select Submit to QuickBooks. The invoice will go to QuickBooks Online automatically and is ready to be sent to the client. You can revert your invoice back to Drafts if you need to make some additional changes.
The GIF below shows the step-by-step process of billing and invoicing clients from LeanLaw to QuickBooks Online.
LeanLaw’s built-in trust accounting can be integrated into the user’s legal invoicing workflow. This makes it easier for you to make legal trust deposits and pay invoices straight from your client’s trust accounts. These trust transactions are then synced automatically with QuickBooks Online, eliminating manual data entry.
While the accounting is done in QuickBooks, the real-time two-way sync between QuickBooks and LeanLaw allows LeanLaw to pull the account balances and display the reconciled trust balances. You can view all of your funds held in trust from the Billing tab.
The amounts displayed in a column with the QuickBooks logo are pulled directly from the QuickBooks ledgers for both the bank accounts and related liability accounts. Therefore, you can see that your accounting records agree with your billing records easily and that all trust accounts are reconciled.
The trust balances pulled from QuickBooks can also be viewed within LeanLaw in a report format and even added to your client’s invoice so they know the full status of their account. LeanLaw has created a video to help explain its trust accounting process further.
Client-based or Matter-based Accounting
With LeanLaw plus QuickBooks Online, you can choose between accounting by client or matter. You may want to pick client accounting if you need to add time or expenses from multiple matters to the same invoice. Meanwhile, we recommend matter accounting if you need to track trust funds separately for each matter. LeanLaw uses client-based accounting by default, but you can change it anytime from the QuickBooks tab in LeanLaw.
You can choose to enter expenses either in your LeanLaw or QuickBooks Online account. Whichever method you choose, data is synced automatically between the two. LeanLaw also allows you to attach invoices directly to your expenses and tag the client to ensure that they’re always up to date.
To enter an expense in LeanLaw from the web dashboard, go to the Expenses tab, click on the +Create Expense button on the far left side of the screen, and then provide the required information on the Add Expense form. Click Save to record the expense.
LeanLaw QuickBooks Online ProAdvisors
LeanLaw has a special program that matches legal firms to QuickBooks ProAdvisors, who are accountants that have passed a certification exam from Intuit, demonstrating proficiency with QuickBooks. LeanLaw provides the necessary support to help law firms find QuickBooks ProAdvisors who are also proficient in LeanLaw. Contact LeanLaw to be matched with a ProAdvisor.
Mobile App (4.6 out of 5 on App Store; no rating on Google Play )
As with the web dashboard, LeanLaw’s mobile app allows you to track time using a timer or manual entry. You can track your billable and nonbillable hours and new time entry and expense on the go. Download the app on Google Play and App Store.
LeanLaw’s integration with Gravity Legal allows law firms to get paid through credit and debit cards or bank transfers directly within LeanLaw. You send a trust deposit request through email, and then your client receives the email which contains the link to where they can pay the deposit. Once the deposit is paid, it will be recorded automatically to the trust liability account in QuickBooks.
Another thing we like about LeanLaw is its comprehensive reporting feature. From the Reports page, you’ll find different legal-specific reports that are grouped into different categories, such as by client and matter, by user, and by practice area.
Available reports include time and expense, client, timekeeper, and lawyer compensation. With LeanLaw, you can drill down into reports to get deeper insights into the financial standing of your law firm.
For instance, instead of checking your monthly invoice payments received, you can delve into specific details, such as revenue by attorney, revenue from a client, revenue by practice area, or revenue allocated to originating attorneys. Additionally, you can run compensation reports, which can help you calculate and track how much of your income is being allocated to users in your firm within a certain period.
LeanLaw Customer Service & Ease of Use
LeanLaw itself is easy to use and has a very simple interface. From the main page, you’ll directly access the timekeeping tool, along with other features found at the top of the screen. The main tabs include Calendar, Time Entries, Expenses, Billing, Clients, Matters, and Reports. The program features user-friendly terms and list boxes for easy navigation.
Also, it supports new users in many ways. For instance, after creating a new time entry, an automated popup appears, suggesting you to try another relevant task, such as creating an invoice. The popup includes a shortcut link that leads you to the invoice creation form. You can also take advantage of the free online masterclasses that discuss specific features in detail, such as masterclass on compensation reporting.
However, to fully leverage the platform, you should be familiar with QuickBooks. If you need help learning QuickBooks Online, check out our free QuickBooks Online tutorials.
You can contact LeanLaw customer support through email or over the phone. You can also check out its online collection of help materials, including frequently asked questions and how-to articles. If you need help with advanced data migration, custom setup, or customized training on LeanLaw’s key features, then you can sign up for a premium onboarding training session.
LeanLaw User Reviews
Most of the online LeanLaw reviews are positive. Many users are happy that the platform is simple and easy to use, while others are impressed with the responsive customer support team. However, some reviewers left negative comments on billing statements not being that customizable and some reports lacking drill-down options.
Overall, we believe many are impressed with LeanLaw, as manifested by its ratings on different review websites.
- Capterra: 4.7 out of 5 based on around 100 reviews
- Trustpilot: 4.3 out of 5 based on about 20 reviews
LeanLaw Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use LeanLaw without QuickBooks?
LeanLaw has built-in accounting features, like legal billing, time-keeping, and invoicing, so you can use it even without QuickBooks. However, we recommend the QuickBooks Online integration to make it a complete double-entry bookkeeping system.
Is LeanLaw easy to learn?
Yes, it is. In addition to being a cloud-based software, it has a very minimalistic design and user interface that’s easy to navigate.
Does LeanLaw integrate with all QuickBooks Online plans?
Yes, it integrates with any of the QuickBooks Online plans—from Simple Start to Advanced. Our QuickBooks Online comparison guide can help you select the right plan that suits your needs.
LeanLaw isn’t as robust as other law accounting software like PCLaw and CosmoLex, but it can be a powerful solution for your legal time tracking and billing needs. If you can afford the additional cost, you can convert LeanLaw into terrific accounting and invoicing software by integrating it with QuickBooks Online. There are other legal practice management applications that integrate with QuickBooks, but we believe that LeanLaw and QuickBooks Online are an ideal match.