Activity Categories

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Activities are billable and non-billable events that form a bill. They are split into time entries and expense entries. Expenses are further broken down into disbursements and expense recoveries. 

Activity categories are the labeled groups or drop-down options to label time and expenses using a consistent description and rate across the firm. All firm users can create activity categories in Clio at any time. You can also set permissions for activity categories if you want to restrict which firm users can use certain categories.

Note: There is no limit to the number of activity categories that you can create; however, too many activity categories can impact performance. Additionally, you cannot set a currency for activity categories.

Create time entry and fixed rate categories

Time entry categories are templates for events that a firm user spends time on and charges for. Some examples include court appearance, call with a client, case review, and document preparation. See below for additional examples. When selecting the billing method for your time entry categories, you can choose your user default rate, a custom rate, or a fixed rate. If you select the fixed rate option, you can create a fixed rate activity category for your matters. Learn more about fixed rate matters here.

  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Click New category.
  3. Under Category type, select Time entry category.
  4. Name your activity category. You can use the name to easily identify the category in a list. The name will also show in a bill.
  5. Choose the Billing method. The time entry will default to this method when this category is selected.
    • Fixed rate categories will override all other rates, and custom rates will override user default, matter, and contact rates. Learn more about billing methods and rate hierarchy here.
  6. Under Permission groups, search for permission groups and users specific to your firm. Only these groups and people will have access to this activity category. If you do not enter any group or name, all firm members will be able to use the activity category.
  7. Optional: Check the box for Visible to co-counsel if you want Clio Connect users to be able to choose this category when entering their time entries. 
  8. Click Save category.
Note: You can create a “no charge” time entry category by setting the Billing method to Fixed rate and setting the Rate to $0.00.

 

Create expense categories

Expense categories are templates for reimbursable expenses a firm has for a particular case. Some examples include court filing fees, medical records, photocopies, and postage costs. See below for additional examples.

  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Click New category.
  3. Under Category type, select Expense category.
  4. If enabled, under Expense type, select disbursements or expense recoveries.
    • Disbursements are expenses that you would pay for on behalf of your client, such as court filing fees. Expense recoveries are expenses that are not directly attributable to third party vendors, such as photocopy expenses. Learn more about enabling disbursements and expense recoveries here.
  5. Name your activity category. You can use the name to easily identify the category in a list. The name will also show in a bill.
  6. Enter the rate for the expense category.
  7. Under Permission groups, search for permission groups and users specific to your firm. Only these groups and users will have access to this activity category. If you do not enter any group or name, all firm users will be able to use the activity category.
  8. Under Tax rate, choose how you want tax to be associated with this category The selected tax option will be applied to all expense entries created under this category.
    • You can choose to not apply any tax or apply your primary tax, your secondary tax, or both your primary and secondary tax rates. Learn more about setting up tax rates here.
    • If you select Use tax applied to invoice or if you do not select any option, expenses created under this category will inherit the tax setting chosen when generating a bill. 
  9. Click Save category.

 

Activity category examples

If you are unsure about the types of time and expense categories you want to create, see below for a list of some examples. 

Time entry categories Expense categories
Call with client Clerical services
Case research Continuance fee
Case review Court filing fees
Consultation Court reporting fees
Conveyance Delivery services/messengers
Correspondence to opposing counsel Deposition expenses
Court appearance Electronic data storage
Document preparation Expert witness fees
Document review Fax costs
Draft agreement Hearing transcript fees
Draft contract Interview costs
Draft correspondence Laboratory fees
Draft pleading Legal research costs
Email client Meal with client
Flat fee for initial deposit Medical record expenses
Meeting with client Online/database research
Real estate transfer Photocopying
Research Postage
Trademark application Process serving fees
Trial preparation Travel
Will preparation Witness fees

 

Set and remove default time entry category

You can choose which activity category is the default for yourself. This ensures that the most often used category is the first one that appears when you are adding a new time entry. The default activity category only applies to each user and does not affect the whole firm.

Note: If you select a fixed rate category as your default time entry category, the category will override other billing rates. Learn more about the billing rate hierarchy in this article.
  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Under Time entry categories, find your time entry category.
  3. Click the down arrow next to Edit and select Set as my default. A green My default tag will show which category is your default.
  4. You can remove your default category by clicking the down arrow next to Edit and selecting Remove as my default.

 

Edit activity categories

When you edit an activity category, you can change the name, billing method and rate, and the permission groups and users that the category is visible to. Bills already generated will not be affected by any of these changes.

Important: Unbilled activities will be affected if the category’s name is changed. The billing method, rate, and permission groups will remain unchanged for unbilled activities.
  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Find your category and select Edit.
  3. After making changes, click Save category.

 

Delete activity categories

When you delete an activity category, existing unbilled and billed activities will not be affected.

Note: You can only delete time entry categories and unused expense categories. Expense categories that have previously been used cannot be deleted.
  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Click the down arrow next to Edit and select Delete.
  3. When the warning prompt appears, select Delete activity category.

 

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