Legal Business Glossary

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Accounts Payable

Short-term debt that a company owes for products/services received before a payment is made. Often abbreviated AP or A/P.

Accounts Receivable

The amount of money due or owed to a business or professional by customers or clients in exchange for services rendered.

Aged A/R

Accounts receivable categorized according to the length of time an invoice has been outstanding.


The Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) provides extensive professional development, collaborative peer communities, strategic operational solutions, and business partner connections to professionals involved in the management of law firms, corporate legal departments, and government legal agencies.

Alternative Fee Arrangement (AFA)

AFA for law firm services that are not on standard hourly rates, such as fixed fees by matter or phases of a matter. In a strict sense, not at all based on the billable hour, so excludes blended or discounted hourly rates. But often these hourly fees are lumped in with true value-based fees. Typically seen outside of litigation, e.g., in estate planning and some other transactional work.

American Bar Association

The American Bar Association (ABA) is the largest voluntary organization of American lawyers, not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States, but is prestigious in formulating guidelines for the practice of law, giving direction to legislation, lobbying for the law profession, and evaluating federal judges.


An attorney who works for a professional organization, such as a law firm, or is employed by another attorney. They are not considered a partner or a member of law firm leadership.


A person who has been qualified by a state or federal court to provide legal services, including appearing in court. Each state has a bar examination which is a qualifying test to practice law.

Attorney-Client Privilege

The legal privilege that keeps confidential communications between an attorney and his or her client secret.

Attorney's Fees

Amount billed to a client for legal services performed on their behalf, which can take several forms 1) hourly charge, 2) flat fee for the performance of a particular service (i.e., $250 to write a will), 3) contingency, or 4) hybrid.


An examination of an individual or organization’s financial records and documents by a trained accountant.


The process of having tasks originally manually performed by humans completed by computers in order to increase efficiency. Automation becomes a key ally in improving efficiency and lowering costs for legal departments. Standard processes like contract review, approvals, NDAs, and matter management can all be automated and streamlined with a legal operations management platform.

Bank Deposits

Money placed into a deposit account (such as savings, checking, and money market accounts) at a banking or financial institution.


The legal profession as an institution. The “bar" comes from the bar or railing which separates the general spectator area of the courtroom from the area reserved for judges, attorneys, parties, and court officials.

Bar Association

A professional group of attorneys, whether local, national, or international, established to promote professional competence, enforce standards of ethical conduct, and encourage a spirit of public service.


A management technique that looks to identify best practices in other organizations within the industry before adopting them in one’s own.


A formal, written declaration requesting payment for a specific action.

Bill Template

Document generated serving as prior authorization, contract, and payment mechanism for services.

Billable Events

Any event that occurs during a scheduled billing period that may result in the inclusion of that event on a bill.

Billing Codes

A defined identifier used by a particular software to identify each case for the purposes of billing.