Connecting to Apperio for Law Firms: FAQ’s
Hi! My name is Zen, and I am a Law Firm Operations Associate at Apperio. In a nutshell, my role is to ensure that connecting to Apperio is a smooth and painless experience for law firms. My goal is to help law firms and their clients to gain value from being connected to Apperio. Since starting here in 2021, I have worked with many law firms who regularly have questions about the platform, the data stored, or the connection process. So here’s a round-up of our most frequently asked questions.
The Apperio Platform
How does Apperio actually work?
It’s pretty simple. The law firm’s Practice Management System (PMS) is already used to record fee earners’ time entries. We work with you to configure this system to produce a CSV file which contains only the specified information agreed with the client. That file is then automatically uploaded to Apperio on a regular basis, allowing both the law firm and client to see this data in Apperio.
A common misconception is that Apperio will have indiscriminate access to all the PMS data, but fear not! Apperio’s connection process has been designed to ensure law firms remain in control of the data being sent, with security the number one priority. At no point is Apperio integrated with a law firm’s Practice Management System - instead, my team supports your IT and Database teams in exporting the data and sending this over to Apperio at an agreed cadence.
How is Apperio different from E-billing?
We’ve written a blog post about this, but in short Apperio provides visibility of legal spend ahead of the invoice. Our platform ingests both billed and unbilled data to provide clients with real time spend information across their connected law firms. Secondly, we’re not in the business of rejecting invoices. By providing this transparency over unbilled spend, Apperio helps clients to work with their law firms proactively to resolve billing queries before the invoice. This reduces invoice friction, helping law firms to be paid faster.
What happens if a fee earner makes a mistake when entering time?
All uploads to Apperio are based on an upsert, which means any new data is added and existing data is updated. With a cadence of daily uploads, once the entry has been corrected in the PMS this will be reflected in the next upload (usually the following day). Additionally, a grace period can be negotiated with the client so that 24-72 hours will elapse before uploads to Apperio are made visible to the client. Historically, however, we have seen that the implementation of Apperio often improves the timeliness and data hygiene of fee earners when entering time in their PMS.
What kind of information is displayed in Apperio?
Apperio provides clients with the ability to see both billed and unbilled spend data for the matters being worked on by your law firm. In an ideal world, this data is derived from time entries made in your Practice Management System. The data is aggregated by matter, fee earner and custom dimensions (such as location or business unit) as defined by the client.
As Apperio doesn't rely on invoice data to provide visibility of spend, the information that may be provided to your clients can be more granular and detailed to add additional value and transparency. This can include a wealth of data held in your PMS, such as:
- General matter information (e.g. name, status, practice group, fee structure, etc…)
- Dates (e.g. matter open date, date of entry, etc..)
- Amount billed and currency
- Time entry narratives
The Connection Process
How long will this all take?
It can typically take around 4 weeks to connect new law firms to our clients. However, we do the majority of heavy lifting during this time, as we are acutely aware of how busy law firms can be!
After the first connection, there’s even less involvement needed from your law firm for any subsequent client connections. This technical work can often be completed within a day after all the relevant security checks and agreements have been made.
In all cases however, our Law Firm Operations team will work with your technical team to provide detailed timelines and estimates for the work required to connect to Apperio.
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Hopefully this answers a number of burning questions that you may have when connecting with Apperio.
If you are interested in finding out more information on the above, or have any specific questions that have not been addressed, then do not hesitate to reach out!
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