Keeping track of the time spent on meetings, briefs, case research, the discovery process, and other billable hours is a fundamental part of a lawyer’s day. Every lawyer has their process for tracking their hours, but the important question is:
How accurate is the time tracking?
Losing track of time, forgetting to stop a timer, or otherwise “guessing” at an hour can lead to billing issues or even legal implications. Without reliable processes for timekeeping, law firms suffer from significant operational challenges.
What Is the Importance of Time Tracking for Lawyers?
Lawyers rely on billing by the hour almost exclusively. While some lawyers use a retainer or other billing structure, the majority of lawyers are tracking billable hours.
Errors in either direction are harmful to a lawyer and a firm’s reputation. If the billable hours are underestimated, the lawyer and firm lose money for the time spent on a client’s case. If the billable hours are overestimated, the client may question the accuracy. The last thing any lawyer wants in this competitive market is a bad reputation.
What Do Lawyers Use to Track Their Time?
Many lawyers use traditional methods of calculations where clients are charged on the billable hour in 10-15 minute increments. Lawyers often captured this time manually in a spreadsheet or on paper. However, this process of tracking time should be avoided as it is prone to human error and can be easy to lose track of time.
Manual tracking is not only cumbersome in itself, but it has no accountability as a tracking method. The results aren’t as accurate as can be expected, and if there’s ever a dispute, the lawyer has no transparency to account for the time spent.
What Are the Risks of Lawyers Not Tracking Time?
Here are 3risks of not using time tracking software for lawyers.
1. Losing Billable – and Non-Billable – Hours
Billable hours are essential for a firm to operate, but they must be accurate. If a lawyer is manually logging billable hours, it’s a risk to overall profitability.
Worse yet, some lawyers don’t log time as they work, which inevitably leads to time being lost. Waiting until the end of the day can result in a 10% loss of time for lawyers. Longer than that and the loss jumps up to 25% or greater.
This doesn’t only apply to billable hours. Tracking non-billable hours helps lawyers accurately price legal services and identify processes that can be streamlined or outsourced to ensure the overall firm is profitable.
2. Discrepancies in Billing
Billing processes can take up a lot of administrative time, especially with a manual time tracking process. The law firm’s staff has to sort through time records from individual attorneys, organize them, and enter them into a law firm’s billing system.
With efficient time tracking software, lawyers can track time on their own using the software, which is then consolidated for staff to generate accurate invoices. This not only ensures an easier billing process, but it reduces the time spent on administrative tasks that hinder productivity and cost money.
3. Impact on the Client Experience
Clients may come to a law firm or lawyer for legal expertise, but the client experience is heavily relied on how easy it is to do business with a firm. This applies to all aspects of working with a firm but especially billing.
It starts with having an efficient, automated time and billing process. With Bill4Time, a lawyer can easily jump between cases while timers capture time. This process allows lawyers to work freely without guessing about the time they spend on a specific case. Once this time is captured, the firm can create a detailed, custom invoice that accurately reflects the billed time.
Showcasing your law firm’s use of legal technology and automated processes during intake is a simple way to set the stage for a transparent attorney-client relationship.
Make the Switch to Time Tracking Software
Time is money, so lawyers need to adopt processes that are efficient and precise. With Bill4Time’s time tracking software, lawyers can gain better insight into where they spend the most time with custom reporting, and automated features to increase the accuracy of their billing. In and out of the courtroom, Bill4Time allows you to track and bill your time wherever you go.