Getting started with CounselGO - how to obtain access and start submitting invoices
What is CounselGO?
CounselGO is a portal for submitting and tracking invoices submitted to vendor's clients who are using SimpleLegal to manage their e-billing and legal matters. CounselGO also helps track the matters that are referred to vendors by clients, and also delivers invoices to clients in a manner that makes the tracking, review, approval, and processing of invoices efficient.
Get an Account
To request access to CounselGO, please contact the client's billing department directly as they are able to invite billers to CounselGO after they have added the vendor name to their list of vendors.
Adding a Client
If a biller is already set up with a CounselGO account and needs to bill additional clients, the process is the same as above. The client will still be able to add the CounselGO user, and after doing so, the CounselGO user will see the client's name on their client list in CounselGO.
Please note that the client will need to add your law firm as an approved vendor in SimpleLegal before any billers can be set up in CounselGO and process their invoices.
Submitting Standard LEDES Formatted Invoices
(https://ledes.org/) Formats 1998B and 1998BI are supported.
- As a general rule, please use the standard LEDES format for producing invoices for clients using SimpleLegal if that option is available. There are a number of advantages, including ease of processing for approval and payment.
Select New Invoice, followed by I have LEDES files on the following screen.
On the next screen titled: Upload Files, drag and drop one or more LEDES invoices or add them by selecting Choose Files. Additionally, if there are PDF copies of the invoices and the file name of the PDF includes the matching invoice number, these can be added at the same time as well. CounselGO will use the invoice numbers in the file names to match the PDF to the invoice which saves an extra step.
Select Next, Validate Invoices to load the invoice information.
Get an Error? Please refer to the Common LEDES Validation Errors in the FAQ section of this document, or the CounselGO help site here if the files do not pass this step.
Next, the Review portion of the invoice submission step will appear. With the validated LEDES invoice(s) loaded, additional attachments can be added here (if not already done during the upload step), change the currency, enter a matter name, or add notes. Please make sure to read the section in this document regarding Matters. A common issue that delays the processing of invoices is that the correct matter has not been entered or selected.
Please review the information before selecting Submit. Errors on invoices generally require that the client reject the invoice and then request that it be submitted again correctly.
Also, many clients require that a PDF copy of the invoice also be attached in addition to the LEDES file during this process. Please confirm billing guidelines with clients before invoicing as all clients have different billing requirements.
Submitting Non-LEDES PDF invoices
LEDES files are encouraged for many reasons including ease of processing and payment. If submitting in the standard LEDES format is not an option, invoice PDF files can be submitted as well.
To submit a non-LEDES invoice, select New Invoice at the top of the screen followed by I don’t have LEDES files on the following screen.
After selecting the option to add a new invoice without a LEDES file, in the top panel, enter in invoice details:
- Invoice Number
- Invoice Description
- Invoice Date
- Billing Period Dates
- Additional Notes/Comments
- Add Attachments
In the next panel, use the pulldown to select a Client Matter ID and enter a Firm Matter ID (optional), then select Line Item.
Client Matter ID : If the client has referred/assigned the matter on which the vendor is billing, the CounselGO user will see it in this drop-down menu and will need to select the Client Matter ID here. If the matter has not yet been assigned, please either request that it be assigned prior to invoicing, or confirm that the client does not require the Client Matter ID prior to invoicing. In the latter case, please select Other in this drop-down menu and the Matter Name that has been input on the Invoice screen will be used. Upon approval of the invoice by the client in SimpleLegal, this matter will be created and assigned to the vendor. In the event that the same matter will be used in the future, it will have been added to this drop-down menu for future invoices.
Firm Matter ID: This can be used to represent the matter ID from the source billing system as a means for a law firm to track it back to their records. If a Firm Matter ID is not entered, the Subject/Matter Name will be used.
Any necessary changes can be done here to the invoice details (date, currency, matter name, etc).
Please do a thorough review of the invoice details before submitting the invoice. Typically, if there is an error on an invoice, the client will reject the invoice and ask for it to be submitted again correctly.
Once the invoice has been submitted, the invoice will be loaded to the client's SimpleLegal account for review and processing.
Selecting or Entering a Matter
Whether the biller is submitting an invoice in the LEDES format or not, it is essential to the client using SimpleLegal that the correct matter be identified. As each client may have slightly different billing guidelines, it is suggested to reach out to the client to coordinate what their requirements are for selecting a matter.
If the client requires the vendor to invoice on a pre-assigned or referred matter:
LEDES: Please input the Client Matter ID into the LEDES file.
Non-LEDES: Please select the matter from the Client Matter ID drop-down menu when entering line items (please refer to the non-LEDES invoices section in this document).
If the Client Matter ID is not available in the drop-down menu, this would indicate that the matter has not yet been assigned, or the Client Matter ID has been closed. In either case, please reach out to the client and ask that this be assigned or opened.
If the client does not require to have a pre-assigned or referred matter prior to invoicing:
LEDES: Assuming that this is a matter for which the biller has not yet invoiced this client, the matter name and Client Matter ID that is listed in the biller's LEDES file will be used to generate a new matter in SimpleLegal for the client. If the CounselGO user intends to invoice on the same matter again in the future, the biller will need to use the same Client Matter ID and name when invoicing.
Non-LEDES: Assuming this is a matter for which the biller has not yet billed this client, the matter name from the Invoice that the biller entered will be used to generate a new matter in SimpleLegal for the client (please refer to the non-LEDES invoices section in this document). The CounselGO user will also need to select Other from the Client Matter ID drop-down menu when inputting line items.
NOTE: Please make sure to read the Matters section of this document. If previously assigned a matter by the client, please select that matter, and the matter name that is input here will not override the matter name that has been assigned. Instead, this matter name will be saved in CounselGO to assist the biller as a reminder to identify the matter; the client will not see this matter name. In that case, the CounselGO user will need to select the pre-assigned matter in the Client Matter ID drop-down menu.
Along with selecting the line item type (Flat Fee, Hourly Fee or Expense) and the units and amounts, enter in optional information for Expense, Activity and Task Codes.
Type: Select the line item billing type (hourly fee, expense, flat fee, adjustment, tax).
Date: Input the line item date.
Description of Services or Expenses: This is solely to help the biller recognize the line item for themselves. It will not be visible to the client in SimpleLegal.
Units/Hrs: Enter the # of units (for expenses, flat fees, hours, etc.) Note: SimpleLegal will perform the calculation of (Units/Hours x Cost/Rate) to determine the Line Total. The amount is automatically calculated and the total cannot be input manually. If the total for a flat fee or fixed cost needs to be ensured, then input '1' as the unit and amount for Cost/Rate.
Cost/Rate: Input the line item cost or hourly rate here. Again, this number will be multiplied by the units/hours to generate the line total.
If the invoice includes tax, select Taxable and enter in the Tax Rate and Tax Type.
A common issue that delays the processing of invoices is that the correct matter has not been entered or selected.
Some clients accept one summary line item for each line item type, rather than having to enter in every line item. To do this, please list one total row for all hourly fees as a flat fee and input another total row for all expenses as the total expense. Please confirm with the client that is being invoices to find out what their specific billing guidelines include.
Select Save and Add Another to continue adding line items or select Save if there are no more line items that need to be added.
Add timekeeper data for convenient reference when adding line items.
To add a timekeeper, select Timekeepers from the left navigation bar.
Select New Timekeeper and enter in the timekeeper details.
When submitting Hourly Fee line items, select a Timekeeper from the dropdown and the rate will auto-populate.
NOTE: This timekeeper data is not a replacement for submitting timekeeper rates to your client.
Create and manage your own timekeeper classification abbreviations
For each timekeeper, a classification is needed. There are 5 default classifications, but if more are needed, select the gear icon from the left navigation bar. Select New Classification.
NOTE: This classification data is not a replacement for submitting timekeeper classification rates to your client.
Why won't my LEDES invoice load or validate in CounselGO?
Common issues with LEDES files include
- missing header identifier row ( LEDES1998B or LEDES98BI )
- missing or extra columns ( 24 columns for LEDES1998B and 51 columns for LEDES98BI )
- missing brackets at the end of each line of the file ( should always be  )
- incorrect field delimiters ( should always be pipe delimited | )
- unrecognized or non-ASCII characters
How do I load and update timekeepers and associated rates for my client?
Currently, this is done by our team at SimpleLegal. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the appropriate .csv form to add timekeepers and rates for the client to review. This is a self-service feature that will be added to CounselGO in the future. After the file is loaded by the Support Team, the client can review and approve.
Why hasn't my invoice been paid yet?
The first action should be to contact the client and request a status of any unpaid invoice. If there appears to be an error or issue with the invoice, please contact the Support Team at email@example.com along with the invoice number(s) and the Support Team can investigate further.
How to submit invoices in LEDES format - general walkthrough video
How to submit invoices in PDF format - general walkthrough video
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any other questions and we are happy to help.