New complete Margill Loan Manager User Guide available

After many years of updates and new features, we are happy to release the new MLM User Guide for software versions. 5.5 / 5.6.  The PDF file, which contains a total of 1241 pages, is mostly a document you can consult for specific matters.  We do not expect you to read it entirely, unless you really need to fall asleep!

The Guide is the result of countless hours of labor by our Margill team in order to give you easy access to all the features offered in the software. It is complete with tons of images and examples to make things easier to understand.

You can consult or download the User Guide here.

Seamless Legal/Litigation Fees Finance Management and Interest Calculation for Law Firms

Seamless Legal/Litigation Fees Finance Management and Interest Calculation for Law Firms with Margill Loan Manager

Many law firms, particularly, personal injury lawyers (accidents, injuries, claims, liability) will finance their client costs and fees until the settlement occurs, at which time they will deduct these fees, costs and now interest, from the settlement amount. With rising interest rates, it becomes increasingly difficult for law firms to finance their clients without charging interest. Money is longer practically free!

Managing this all the while calculating interest can become quite arduous without the proper system. For all the respect and admiration I have for spreadsheets and Excel, these just aren’t made for this (See Loan Servicing with Excel? Pitfalls and alternatives and 12,000 Reasons why to use Loan Servicing Software as opposed to Spreadsheets!).

Margill Loan Manager (MLM) can, using data from with your other systems, create the actual Case (more or less a loan), import case costs and fees (transactions) in bulk, and calculate the interest throughout the lifecycle of the Case. In some situations, a line of credit is afforded to the client where costs and fees (invoices) are added and payments made occasionally by the client to reduce the balance owed. This latter situation does not factor in success/non-success, so is simply client finance.

For litigation finance based on success, if a case is successful, interest will be charged to the client and fees reimbursed. If the case is not successful, no interest or fees will usually need to be paid back by the client, but the law firm will know its cost of capital, case by case. Most often, the cost of capital to the law firm (so the interest rate its bank charges) will be the same rate as the rate charged to the client, but it could also be higher (margin) to generate a little extra revenue. The interest rate could also be fixed or tied to the bank rate (variable interest rate loans) and could include a spread (so Prime + x%). Simple or compound interest can be used as the calculation method.

Main window where all cases are shown:

Some interesting aspects:
  • A graphic Dashboard can show portfolio trends;
  • Balances (principal and interest) are calculated every single day, case by case;
  • Client names need not appear (they could be identified simply by a Unique Identifier for added confidentiality);
  • Extra data can be added such as Case Type, Court Case Number, Region, etc., for data analysis.
Steps in Margill Loan Manager:
1) Line status setup
We recommend using “Additional Principal” type Lines statuses since we will consider the Fees or Costs to be principal (since this is kind of a loan) as opposed to fees as Margill would see them. So change one or many “Add. Princ (X)” Line statuses to the desired names (Tools > Settings > Line Payment Statuses):

You could create only one “Fee” or multiple fees (up to 9 different names if needed).

2) Client and Loan (Case) creation
A Loan / Line of credit or Case in legal jargon, can be created in Margill by entering these data (minimum information needed):
  • Start (Origination) Date and First Payment Date (in litigation loans, these are usually the same date)
  • Interest rate (or Interest Rate table)(could also be a default rate so could not be needed)
  • Unique Loan ID (from other system)(required only for auto import)

Any other data can be entered as required (court case, client names, email, address, mobile, case type, active or draft, and other special data…).

This information is entered in the Data window either:

  • manually;
  • in bulk manually via a simple Excel file;
  • in bulk automatically via an Excel or JSON file (what we call “hot folders” where, when a file is deposited in a specific folder, Margill will automatically grab the file and import the data).

Since law firms can use a wide variety of systems  – practice management solutions and accounting systems, a data conversion app may be required to convert third party data to a format accepted by Margill Loan Manager (JSON and Excel files). This can be developed by our programming team.

Typical Excel sheet for Case creation in Margill:

Principal amount is required but is usually 0.00 as case Costs and Fees will be added as line items (see 2) below)

The Case(s) will then appear in the Main MLM window with nothing really exciting so far – only the basic data. It gets fun when transactions are added!

3) Cost and Fees (transaction) import
Once a Case if created, Costs and Fees (and payments) can be imported at any date after the Start (Origination) Date. They can be entered:
  • manually Case by Case (for very low activity volume)
  • manually for multiple Cases at once
  • in bulk with an Excel sheet manually
  • in bulk with an Excel sheet automatically

For the bulk imports, the Excel sheet must follow this precise mapping:

For any auto imports, the ISO date format MUST be used: YYYYMMDD

3a) Cost and Fees (transaction) import from other systems

If your law firm must import data (transactions) from an accounting software (QuickBooks or other) or a practice management system and this system does not support the production of an Excel sheet as above, a special conversion application can be created by the Margill programming team that converts the file your system produces, to the Margill format which can then be imported manually or automatically. Such an app saves time and avoids errors.

4) Special situations

A host of special situations can be handled by MLM (the numbers correspond to the red numbers in the image below):

  • (1) One or many, up to nine (9) Fee types (Lawyer Fees and Expert Fees – could be named as you wish – Medical Expense, Expert Expense, Medical Expense no interest, etc.).
  • (2) Line 5 shows the $666.36 Lawyer Fees that do not bear interest (blue Line status and Pmt Type column).
  • (3) As of 1/29/2023, interest is no longer charged on all amounts since maximum 3 year Term (optional of course). Line color was changed to red to highlight the End of Term.
  • (4) An Invoice number was added for each invoice.
  • (5) A Comment may be added on any line.
  • (6) Final settlement of $21,250. All interest got paid first but we could have paid the $19,760.83 in Principal (the Fees) and there would have been an interest balance of $39.44 instead of Principal balance for this amount – you have the options with the Line statuses.
  • Interest can start 30 days after the invoice date so the Pmt Date entered would be the invoice date + 30 days. The actual invoice date could be in another column (not shown below).
  • The Case can also be lost in which case, instead of a Payment at the very end, there would be a Line status that could be called “Loss” or “Bad debt” to bring the balance to 0.00 and to isolate the fees and interest as unrecoverable for your accounting (not shown below).
  • Many other options are available…

5) Reporting
You can create your own reports for any time period using over 1000 fields. Typical reports would be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly…:
  • Disbursed Costs and Fees
  • Interest generated (accrued)
  • Interest actually paid or collected (as opposed to simply accrued)
  • Fees by Case type
  • Cost and Fees paid back
  • Fees lost (Case was lost)
  • Balances
  • and many more, such as socioeconomic information for decision makers (statistical data).
Please contact Margill support ([email protected]) for more information.

Webinar – What’s new in version 5.4

See the cool new features in version 5.4 released from January 22 to September 15, 2022.

For more details on the new additions, please visit the Release Notes page.

Automated invoice numbering

Q: I created an invoice in Margill (via Document Merge) and would like to know if it can number the invoices automatically.

A: A few options are available in Margill

First method:

By using the Global Changes function import your invoice numbers directly into your Records.

Let’s start by creating a Custom field to import your invoice numbers.

Go to Tools > Settings > Custom Fields > Record > Unlimited Fields (Table format)

Please note that if you wish to keep historical invoice numbers, you will have to create a new field for each invoicing cycle (ex. Invoice number 2023) (this is less practical if the invoices are sent every month).

Once this field has been created, you can import your invoice numbers. To do this, you will need a list of your Record unique identifiers. You can create this list in Reports > Record List and export in Excel format.

Once in Excel, adding your invoice numbers to the document will be easy.

Now let’s update your invoice numbers with the Global Changes tool. To do this, right-click in the Main Margill window and select the Global Changes option.

When the window opens, click on the Excel icon at the top right of the window.

In the new window, simply select the Invoice number field and the file to import.

Now, you can add this field to your invoices and account statements.

Before the next billing cycle, you must import the new invoice numbers in a new field (with year and/or month) or in the existing field (the invoice number will thus be updated at every new billing cycle).

Second method:

You will find that this method is faster and requires fewer manipulations. On the other hand, you will not have the same flexibility as the previous method.

This method consists of creating a unique invoice number using the MLM ID and, for example, the number of documents attached to the Record. Several other options would be possible such as adding a date or other.

To do this, add the following fields to your invoice:

1- MLM Record Identification

2- Total number of files attached to the Record

When you produce your invoices, it will be important to check “Attach each file produced to the Record”, so that the numbering continues correctly.

It is up to you to see which technique is preferred to obtain the desired results. Note that it is possible to combine the two techniques. Do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions regarding the Document Merge function at [email protected].

On a $1000 loan at 20% interest, why is my interest not $200 for one year?

Q: On a $1000 loan at 20% interest, why is my interest not $200 for one year?

A: This is a common question that we often get and some information is missing to answer the question so we’ll analyse this, taking into account various scenarios and how to manage this in Margill Loan Manager.

There is a misunderstanding as to the concept of “amortization”.

Here is how we get to $200 in interest on a loan. It must have ONE (1) lump sum payment at the end (one year later) of 1200 to get a balance of 0.00. So there is no amortization in this loan:

Compute to get the Results table:

Let’s look at this with bi-weekly $0.00 payments just to see the interest accrued (so 26 payments and the last payment on Jan. 1, 2023 to give exactly one year). This is Compound interest (not Simple interest), so the interest keeps on increasing:

So you get exactly 200 (+ or – a few cents due to rounding) as the interest amount.
However, when you add true payments that pay interest and principal (every 2 weeks, so 26 for a full year approximately), you are not lending 1000 for 1 year since principal gets paid back every 2 weeks, thus reducing the interest accrued.

“Compute” to get a real amortization schedule at 20% annual (APR). Notice my balance goes down so the fortnightly interest (every 2 weeks) goes down and so does the interest per period. So for an amortized loan, the interest is very far from 200 total, only about half (96.96) because of the amortization effect.

There are two ways to get the desired $200 in accrued interest for 1 year when there are true principal and interest (P&I) payments:
Method 1): Calculate the REAL interest rate
  • Desired Interest per payment: 200 / 26 = 7.69
  • Principal per payment: 1000 / 26 = 38.46
  • So 26 payments of 46.15 each (26 x 46.15 = 1199.90)
Leave the Annual Nominal Rate blank and enter the Payment of 46.15. Margill will compute the rate.

 “Compute” and notice the real interest rate (APR) is now 43.97% (APR). We are at 199.90 in interest (almost 200).

2) Use Fees, not true interest
Other option is to use Column fees (that are not computed on a daily basis but entered once and no matter what, you will have 200 in “finance costs”, not real interest). Click on Add Fees (I called them Admin fees – you can rename them to anything you want) and add 7.69 (200 / 26) in “interest” (Admin Fees here) per payment.

Here are the results. I added a few cents in Admin Fees at the end and increased my payment to get exactly 200 as my finance cost. Notice my interest rate is 0% since I am now using Column fees, not real interest.

I also invite you to consult our White Paper on interest. It explains basics and more advanced issues with interest:

Margill Loan Manager: Amount Due at current date or any date to “get back on track”

A most appreciated feature in Margill Loan Manager (MLM) is its quick access to four variables, accessible in the reports or in the Main window, that allow the user to instantly see the amount that must be paid by the Borrower to “get back on track” if one or several payments are missed, partial or late.


  • Amount due at Current Date (For final balance = 0.00)
  • Amount due at Current Date (For final balance = original balance)
  • Amount due report End Date (For final balance = 0.00)
  • Amount due report End Date (For final balance = original balance)


  • Loan amount: 25,000
  • Principal and interest payments for 18 months
  • Regular payment should be 1487.08 with a last payment of a few cents less.

Below is the payment schedule based on contract that would yield a balance of 0.00 if full payments were made on time:

Let’s suppose payment 4 is missed and payment 5 is partial, leading a hypothetical final balance of 2731.16 (in principal, interest and maybe fees had these been added):

Borrower calls you up today January 10, 2022 to know how much he must pay to be back on track. The amount can be seen in the Main window with the appropriate variable. In this case “Amount due at Current Date (For final balance = 0.00)”. So the Borrower would have to pay 2490.25 (today) so that the final balance of 2731.16 (in the year 2023) becomes 0.00. The difference is due to interest accrued on a higher amount if the outstanding amount is paid in the future as opposed to today.

If there had been a residual value, the proper variable would have been “Amount due at Current Date (For final balance = original balance)”

If Borrower wished to know the amount due at another date than today, then a report (Record List) would have been produced to get the data with one of the two variables “Amount due report End Date”.

Or you could have gone in the loan itself, inserted a line on the date, right click > Payments > Payments Adjusted for Balance = 0.00 (or Balance = X).


Activate this option in Tools > Settings > System Setting (Admin…)


For “up to current date” calculations, it is strongly advised to use the Automatic / Overnight tasks which compute totals during the night as opposed to when launching Margill in the morning.

Webinar – What’s New in Version 5.3

In this webinar, we are looking into what’s new in version 5.3 including increased automation and customization.

This is followed by a sneak peek at upcoming version 5.4 (available in November 2021), again with new automation aspects as well and many features you asked for.

Finally, we go over some aspects of the software that you may not know exist and that could help you in your day-to-day with Margill. Don’t miss this!

How can I mass import “Unpaid” payments with an Excel sheet in Margill Loan Manager? I need to obtain the Outstanding payment amounts.

Question: How can I mass import “Unpaid” payments with an Excel sheet in Margill Loan Manager? I need to obtain the Outstanding payment amount too.

Answer: Usually, when payments are NOT made (so were skipped or the payments returned for non sufficient funds (NSF), on a historical basis, these would simply be ignored and only the Paid payments entered (even partial and late payments)

However, in order to count the number of Unpaid payments and to obtain the Outstanding amounts, it may be a good idea to enter payments lines of 0.00 and include the payment that SHOULD have been paid, thus allowing Margill to calculate the Outstanding payment amounts.

One would go through the “Post payment” tool under “Tools”. On the far right is the “Bulk Payment Import” button. You need “Import new payments”.

This mass (or bulk) import tool allows you to import payments (Paid pmt, partial pmt, late pmt, etc.) (as well as additional principal – a negative amount – and column fees and other information in the Results or payment table) but does not allow the import of Unpaid payments of 0.00. So we must be a little creative…

The tool does allow the import of what are called “Other” Line statuses. “Other” Line statuses never pay interest or principal – they are made to manage special scenarios and allow you to add more data in bulk such as Column Fees or other information in columns to the right. If the Outstanding amount was not important you could rename, for example, “Other 3” to “Unpaid” and mass import these. However, when “Other” is added, since this is not a real “payment”, no matter how it is renamed, an amount in the “Expected Pmt”  column will not affect the Outstanding as an Unpaid Pmt does (see example below where Other 3 does not increase the Outstanding to 1000):

In the question at hand, the Outstanding amount is required, so we cannot use an “Other” Line status with a payment of 0.00.

What can be done however, and this will be our solution, is to use a “Paid Pmt (x)” Line status, rename it to “Unpaid…” (renamed to “Unpaid Special” below) and mass import this Line status with a payment of 0.00 and an “Expected Pmt” for the amount that was supposed to be paid.

Margill allows “Paid” type Line statuses with a payment of 0.00. A little odd I agree, but this allows for greater flexibility. Even with the name “Unpaid”, the payment must not necessarily be 0.00 as in a real “Unpaid” Line status (line 6 below “Unpaid Visa” where must =0)

Once this Line status is created, in Bulk Payment Import > Import new payments, find the appropriate number for “Unpaid Special” (6 in this case – this is not the Line status order as in Line status Settings that vary depending on the order you desire). The Excel sheet must contain data and a header in columns A, B, C, D and L.

Here is the Excel sheet with only 2 loans. Notice I also added fees (column T for my Admin Fees)

Bulk import window:

Final result in Record 10003 after pressing on “Insert lines” with an Outstanding of 1300:

You can even get the number of each and every Line status through “Personalized Reports” > “Record List” (“Tally” theme):

What’s criminal? Lenders beware – amendments to Criminal Code under Bill C-274

An Act to amend the Criminal Code Bill-C-274 (the Bill) entered first reading in the House of Commons on May 11, 2021. The Bill would amend1 the definitions of “criminal rate” and “interest” in subsection 347(2) of the Criminal Code, while also repealing section 347.1, which had allowed certain exceptions for payday loans.

The Bill will be of interest to lenders, especially payday lenders and other non-traditional lenders, as the amendments proposed would lower the criminal rate at which interest charged or received is under the Criminal Code from 60% to 30%.

To continue to read the text by Me Joyce M. Bernasek and Me Ramz Aziz from the law firm Osler, follow this link.


In the Loan Manager, is it possible to change a payment date for all loans at the same time?

Q: In the Loan Manager, is it possible to change a payment date for all loans at the same time? For example, I want to change the date from March 26 to March 27?

A: This can be done in batch but each date will have to be modified. You can do this for “Due Pmt” and “Paid Pmt” lines only.

  • Go to Tools > Post Payments
  • Check “Use Date interval”
  • Enter dates between March 26, 2021 and March 26, 2021 (or other dates)

In theory, you would change only the Due Pmt lines so therefore you don’t have to check “Include all Payment Line statuses”.  In the following example, I checked the option but this is usually not necessary…

Afterwards, you need to copy and paste the March 27 date (the new date) and modify line by line (faster with Ctrl C and Ctrl V (copy/paste) compared to manually entering teh date):

You will then be able to modify the dates and the lines will become light green. The chronological order of the lines must be followed:

Once the changes are done, click “Apply” and dates will be modified.