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Automated Billing Program Attorney Training Guide

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CJA 20
Automated Billing Program Attorney Training Guide
EXCEL BILLING FOR CJA CASES

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NOTES ABOUT MICROSOFT EXCEL
Microsoft Excel was selected as the program to drive this billing program because it is widely available and is Windows-based. The files created in Excel are managed in the same way on your computer as Word Perfect and Microsoft Word files. The files are easy to manage and easy to attach to emails. This program was developed in Excel 2003 and as such the files should always be saved as Excel 97-2003 files (the extension should always be .xls and not .xlsx or .xlsm). The latest version of Excel (2007) looks considerably different and there are some special considerations that are discussed for that version. However, the differences are largely cosmetic and the program should work in the same way. A basic knowledge of Excel is all that is necessary to use these billing spreadsheets. Excel is menu driven and has helpful icons like other popular windows-based programs. Many areas of the spreadsheets are password protected and therefore normal Excel functions, such as adding rows and columns, or adding and editing formulas, are not allowed. Excel spreadsheets are also referred to as ��workbooks.�� This is because it allows the use of multiple worksheets or pages that interact with each other. As described in this guide, this billing file utilizes several separate worksheets to make the billing process easier and more user-friendly. You can move from sheet to sheet by selecting the desired worksheet from the tabs across the bottom of the file. On each Excel worksheet, columns are labeled alphabetically and rows are labeled numerically. There is a name box in the upper left corner of the sheet that will tell you the cell you are in. The example to the right is an Excel 2003 sheet that has cell A1 selected. The example to the left (in Excel 2007) has cell B2 selected. You can move around a sheet by tabbing from cell to cell, using the arrow buttons on your keyboard or clicking on the desired cell. It you try to access a protected part of the spreadsheet, you will get a warning that the cell is protected (click OK to proceed). Because so much of the data entry will be numerical, it is suggested that you use the number lock on your keyboard so that your number pad will function like a calculator. This will probably make data entry more efficient and accurate.

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Billing Overview and Set Up
The billing file will either be e-mailed to the attorney or can be obtained via the district court��s website. There are two types of files that the court may use, but both files function in exactly the same way. One file allows multiple rates to be recorded on the same voucher. The other file allows only a single rate. This guide will explain both options. Unless there is a specific note about the differences in the types of file, the particular function being discussed (such as security in the following section), is the same for both types of files. Once you have the appropriate file, save it to use as a ��master�� file that can be copied for each of your cases. In versions of Excel prior to 2007, when you attempt to open the file, you should (if your security level is set correctly) get a message similar to the one shown here: Viruses are sometimes transferred through macros, so your system may warn you that this program contains macros. This billing program is controlled by the court and is considered to be safe from viruses. In order for the program to function properly, you must select ��Enable Macros�� if you get this, or a similar message. If you don��t get this message, you need to cancel opening the file and re-set your security level as described below. To set your security level properly, close the Excel file sent to you and open a blank Excel file; go to Tools on the Menu Bar, click Options, click on the tab Security, click on Macro Security and set the Security level to Medium, as indicated on the right: Changing this setting will NOT compromise the security of your PC – it is simply giving you the choice to open a file containing macros.

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Page | 4 In Excel 2007, the file will open without the separate security warning dialog box (shown on the previous page), but there will be a security warning at the top of the file, under the menu bars, as shown below: Click on the Options button and choose ��Enable this content�� as shown:

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Page | 5 GETTING STARTED The automated billing program consists of several sheets to record costs and expenses. The program opens on the header page (shown below). The various sheets are listed on tabs (indicated by the yellow arrow) along the bottom edge of the Excel file. Header Sheet To begin, fill out all the fields on the Header page, using the tab key to forward to the fields that need to be completed. The fields on this sheet will automatically populate the information on the other sheets, including the voucher. The information on this sheet does not clear when you clear the rest of the forms, so you only have to type the contact and specific case information once per case. You may want to type your contact information and make copies of the file (using the ��Save as�� command). That way, you need only type the specific case information (the first four fields) for each of your cases. If your court is using the single rate billing program, there will be a rate/hour field on the header page (as shown on the left).

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Page | 6 IN COURT/OUT OF COURT Both the ��in court�� and ��out of court�� sheets function as your timesheet and are used to record the date, description and number of hours spent in a particular category. The case information is carried over from the header page. If you are using a multiple rate file, you will see a note in the column heading for the date (Important!) telling you to be sure that you enter the correct date, as the hourly rate is determined automatically by the dates in this column. The ��in court�� and ��out of court�� sheets in the single rate file looks identical to this except it does not have the note about the rate (since there is only one rate). Please note: DO NOT add columns to either of these sheets or to either of the expense sheets. Doing so will cause an error in the summary and voucher sheets.

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Page | 7 Enter the date, a brief description, the document number reflected on the docket in ECF (if applicable), number of pages for disclosure reviewed or motions filed, and the number of hours into the appropriate category. (Remember: Billable hours are claimed in tenths of an hour; six (6) minutes = .1) If you use the date format m/d/yy, the date will automatically convert to mm/dd/yyyy format. If you enter the date in a different format, you will get an error message that displays the appropriate format. The ��in court�� sheet (not shown) looks and functions exactly the same as the ��out of court�� sheet. The only difference is the categories. TRAVEL EXPENSES/OTHER EXPENSES The ��travel expenses�� sheet and the ��other expenses�� sheet (which are the same for both single and multiple rate files) will contain the basic case information, copied from the header sheet. Fill in the date, description and number of miles traveled. The mileage rate is dependent upon the date entered, so please make sure the dates entered are correct. Miscellaneous travel includes costs for parking, tolls, etc.

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Page | 8 SUMMARY The summary sheet displays the total hours in each voucher category as entered on both the ��in court�� and ��out of court�� sheets. The hours are automatically transferred by the program and all cells on this page are locked. If you try to enter or change any of these cells, you will get an error message. Any change to these hours should be made to the appropriate cell(s) on the appropriate sheet. This sheet provides a breakdown of hours claimed under different rates. The single rate file also contains a summary sheet, but only has one column for attorney hours. Since the single rate is chosen on the header page, there is no need for different rate columns.

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Page | 9 SUMMARY, cont. This is a continuation of the Summary sheet, below the summary of hours. This portion of the sheet is the same for both the single rate and multiple rate files. These cells are also automatically filled in by the program, based on the data entered in the ��travel expenses�� and ��other expenses�� sheets. These cells are locked, so any changes must be made to the appropriate category on one of the expenses sheets. The information on this sheet transfers automatically to the voucher.

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Page | 10 VOUCHER The vouchers for both the multiple rate file and the single rate file, have the same functionality. The basic information from the header file will populate both types of voucher. Both types also have pull down menus for the following fields: • Payment category • Type Person Represented • Representation Type (shown) • Court Order • Case Disposition (shown in next example) This sheet will contain the hours and expenses, transferred from the ��summary�� sheet. Most of the cells on this sheet cells will be locked – any changes must be made on the ��in court�� or ��out of court�� sheet (for hours) or the ��travel expenses�� or ��other expenses�� sheet (for mileage, travel expenses and other expenses).

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Page | 11 VOUCHER, cont. On the bottom part of the voucher, the ��from�� and ��to�� dates will be populated based on the dates you have entered on the ��in court�� and/or ��out of court�� sheets. Below the voucher is a button that will allow you to print the forms that you would submit to the court. You also have the option to print just the voucher.

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Page | 12 CUMULATIVE The ��cumulative�� sheet is mainly for court use, but is available to show you a list of all the vouchers filed in a particular case. CJA26 The CJA 26 form is required for cases that anticipate attorney services in excess of $7,000. Cases with less than $7,000 in attorney services are not required to complete the CJA 26. The CJA26 sheet in this file is a replica of the AO form and is provided here for convenience. A few of the fields are populated automatically with information from the ��header�� sheet, but most of the form requires attorney input. The tab key will tab you through each field that requires input. COURT ADJUSTMENTS The sheets that allow attorneys to input their time and expenses, also allows the court to input adjustments. Should the court make adjustments, those adjustments can be viewed by counsel next to the entry that is being adjusted. Otherwise, those columns are hidden to make it easier to enter time and expenses. The example on the right shows a portion of the ��out of court�� sheet that contains adjustments made by the court. Adjustments can be made to both time sheets and both expense sheets and are also shown on the ��summary�� sheet.

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Page | 13 CONVERTING TO PDF FORMAT Excel can convert the sheets to pdf format for e- filing. There are several ways to accomplish this. If you would like to preview the file in pdf format before e-mailing, save the file using the pdf menu, shown right. You can also have the file converted to pdf format and attached to an e-mail without opening Adobe. You can do this by clicking the second Adobe icon. If you don��t see these icons on your toolbar, click View, Toolbars, and click on PDF Maker as shown left.

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Page | 14 EXCEL TIPS To make it easier to enter your time in the appropriate categories, the Services tab has Excel��s ��freeze panes�� feature activated. This feature allows the rows with the category information to ��freeze�� on the page so that as you scroll down to make entries onto the sheet, you can still see the column headers. If this feature is not activated, in pre-2007 versions of Excel, go to Window on the menu bar and click ��Freeze Panes.�� To freeze the pane in the proper position, you must first click on cell A11. To unfreeze, click on Window and ��Unfreeze Panes.�� In Excel 2007, shown below, go to the View tab, choose Freeze Pane. Again, you must be on cell A11 in order for the sheet to ��freeze�� in the correct position.

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Page | 15 You do not have to enter your time in chronological order – Excel can put the entries in chronological order for you just by clicking the ��Sort by Date�� button. The program will sort the entries in ascending order, using the first column (the date column).

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Page | 16 SAVING THE FILE Remember to rename the file (using the ��Save As�� command). IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are using Excel 2007, it is essential to save the file in a version that is compatible with earlier versions of Excel, as demonstrated here. To tell if a file is saved in ��compatibility mode,�� the file will have the .xls extension. In order for the macros to work effectively, you must save the file in Excel 97-2003. CLEARING THE FILE There are two buttons on the ��header�� sheet that will allow you to clear either the entire workbook (i.e., all the worksheets) or just your time and expenses. You would use the ��clear time & expenses�� button if you are filing interim vouchers, so you won��t have to re-type the information on the header sheet or on the CJA26. Once the sheets have been cleared, they are ready for new entries for your next submission. The ��clear all worksheets�� button does just that – it clears every sheet, including the cumulative sheet.

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