Creating a Costs Agreement

We are currently reviewing this article in light of recent changes, and will have an updated version soon. in the meantime, please contact us on info@tiro.com.au if you have a question.

There are five steps to creating a costs agreement in Tiro. They are:

  1. Create a new matter.
  2. Add a brief to the matter.
  3. Record your rates.
  4. Estimate the work involved in your brief.
  5. Preview and send your costs agreement.

Let's deal with each of those in turn.

Creating a new matter

You can create a new matter either from either the matter view, or direct from the dashboard.

To create a matter from the dashboard, click the '+' (plus) sign at the top right hand corner of the matter page.

That will take you to the Create New Matter page. 

There are only two required fields on this page, the matter name, and the short name. The first is the full name of the matter, as you might see it on the court lists. The second, short name, is the name you might use if discussing it with your solicitor. 

This short name is used by Tiro throughout the app to identify the matter.

We recognise that in some matters, like Local Court sentencing matters, or a single directions hearing, you might not need (or want) to spend as much time entering information. You probably want to get to issuing an invoice as quickly as possible. So we've tried to keep things flexible.

If you are generating a costs agreement, make sure you also fill these fields.

The client field 

This is the person who will be entering the costs agreement with you, namely the solicitor, or in a direct access brief, the actual client.

In our example, we'll assume we're being briefed by a solicitor whose details we already have.

But you'll note that you can add a new contact right from this form. When you finish filling it out, you'll be returned to the new matter page, to carry on entering your info.

The summary field

This field will appear in the costs agreement to help identify the proceedings with precision. Tiro draws a distinction between the matter you're briefed in, and the work you're briefed to do, so try to keep this description limited to a description of the proceedings themselves.

Represented

This is the contact for the party you represent in the proceedings. It is an optional entry. 

Court, Registry, Division and List

Tiro maintains a master list of all the courts, their registries, divisions and lists, so you don't have to.

If you find an entry is missing, just let us know, and we'll add it for you.

Venue

This is the physical location in which you will appear in proceedings. Often this is the same as the Registry, but not always. When working out the location of a matter, Tiro will look at the Venue field first. If that is blank, it will use the Registry field.

Once you've filled out the matter details, you might be finished with that matter for now. If so, hit Save and Quit.

Otherwise hit Save and Continue to move onto the next step, creating a brief.

Create a New Brief

A brief is the work you've been briefed to do on a matter. A matter can involve multiple briefs. Each brief will have one costs agreement.

There are only five fields to fill in on this screen.

  1. Title. A short description of the work you have been briefed to do, for example "Appear on Trial" or "Advice on Quantum".
  2. Date briefed. This defaults to today's date.
  3. Brief type. The brief type will be used to help you estimate the work involved in a brief at a later step. If it's a brief to appear and advise, select "appear".
  4. Costs agreement type. The selection you make here can influence the way a costs agreement is put together. Most notably, if you select "conditional", it will add extra clauses specific to these types of matters.
  5. Summary. As with the matter summary, this field will appear on the costs agreement as a description of the work you have been briefed to do.

Record Your Rates

This step is concerned with setting your rates, selecting the regime which applies, and editing some particular conditions which will apply to this particular matter.

  1. Use the Direct Access checkbox to meet the extra disclosure requirements which attach to these types of matters.
  2. Use the Template Type checkbox to choose between a Legal Profession Act or Uniform Law compliant template.
  3. The five Rates fields are picked up from the defaults you have entered in your preferences. The daily and hourly rates are used in estimates and invoices. The matter type rates only appear on costs agreements to give precision to your billing practices.
  4. Use the Personal Injury checkbox if you want your costs agreement to include the clauses and warranties required for these types of matters.
  5. The Billable Expenses field is used to customise the nature of the expenses which you intend to pass on to your client. The default text is picked up from your preferences.
  6. The Special Conditions field allows you to customise the standard costs agreement by adding your own conditions. The default text is picked up from whatever you enter in your preferences.

Once you're done selecting these fields, hit "Save and Continue" to construct an estimate of your costs for inclusion on your costs agreement.

Estimate the Work in Your Brief

On this page, you break down the work in a brief into a set of tasks. The form is pre-filled with a set of possible tasks, which can be customised to your requirements.

Each task has a Description, an Amount of either hours or days, and an optional Due Date.

You do not have to add an estimate for each of the default tasks on this page. If you don't include an estimate, that field is ignored.

If you do give a task an estimated length, then Tiro will include that task and estimate in your costs agreement, applying your hourly and daily rates to calculate a total estimated cost of the brief.

Tiro will also create a task against which you can allocate time, as you log it later on.

The number of tasks you can add on this page is limited, but you are able to add more tasks later on if you wish.

Let's create an estimate for a typical Local Court hearing in the Criminal Division on 9 November 2015. For that matter you might add:

  • Appearance on hearing, 1 day, with a date of 9 November 2011; and
  • Preparation, 2 hours.

Once you've put your estimate together, click the Save and Continue button to preview your new costs agreement.

Preview and Send Costs Agreement

On this page you can see a preview of what your costs agreement looks like. If you're happy with it, you might be ready to send it. If you've entered an email address for your client, then just click on the "Save and and Send" button to have Tiro send a short email attaching a PDF of your costs agreement to them.

If you want to send your costs agreement the old fashioned way, that is by mail or fax, then click the Download button for a PDF copy of the costs agreement.

If you're not ready to send it, hit Save Draft and Quit. You can always come back and send it later.

Congratulations, you've just created your first Costs Agreement in Tiro.

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