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    Why Manual Time-Tracking Is Hurting Your Firm

    Why Manual Time-Tracking Is Hurting Your Firm

      If you’re a law firm—large or small—there’s a good chance your attorneys use different methods to track their billable hours, from Excel to a notes app on their phone to real-time tracking software to an agenda and Post-its to even…writing on their hands (we’ve all done it).  

      It’s a big whoops when that attorney washes their hands and the valuable billable time with it. But that’s just one small example of the hours of forgiven revenue that come with manual time-tracking, hurting your firm and your attorneys. 

      With old-fashioned time-tracking, legal professionals may wait until EOD to fill out timesheets or even week’s end, leading to errors and forgotten work. Filling out timesheets badly, one company figured out, could be costing the professional services sector $74 billion every year 

      But let’s get specific, because time tracking inflicts specific damage on your law firm. Here are some of those impacts…and some of the solutions at your disposal.   

      Ouch, it hurts! The pitfalls of manual time-tracking 

      Old-fashioned time-tracking is hurting your firm because… 

      You’re not capturing every hour  

      When one of your firm’s lawyers takes a call on their cell or answers a client email for two minutes, they may very often say to themselves, “Not worth jotting it down on paper.”  

      But those lost minutes are valuable, and they add up as many small tasks go unrecorded…and unbilled for.  

      There’s also the problem of recording but doing it later, relying on the old noggin (not a good idea in this case). According to the American Bar Association, lawyers who wait until the end of the day to record their time lose 10-15% of their billable hours, and those who wait until the end of the week lose 25%. 

      High overhead 

      Imagine: When keeping time the manual way, when a lawyer opens a client email, they have to jot that down. Then, they open a separate client’s email and jot that down somewhere else. Later, they’re at court, and they may be recording time in a Notes app.  

      These methods don’t sync easily and add a further task to your daily list: collate all of the time-tracking. 

      And let’s not forget about tacking on LEDES codes to the process. When it comes time to invoice, they may have to re-write these numbers all over again. 

      Yes, this is the worst-case scenario, but it isn’t far-fetched. When you add up all the time spent tracking time manually, you have added a lot of inefficiencies—and perhaps contributed to paperwork burnout over the long haul—into a lawyer’s work. 


      Demystifying the Billable Hour: How to Right-Size Your Rates

      With prices rising so much over the last year (global inflation is forecasted at 8.8% in 2022), it’s the right time to look at your current rates and see if you’re charging enough to remain profitable.

      Frequent errors, angry clients 

      When an attorney uses manual time-tracking, at day’s end, he may have to look at his notebook and guess, did I write a 1 or a 7?  

      Doing things the old-fashioned way is error-prone, and error-prone processes aren’t a recipe for client satisfaction. Imagine a client doubting the accuracy of an invoice and asking you about it—that’s not a conversation you want to have. 

      These kinds of mistakes can also, in worst-case scenarios, lead to ethics complaints. The ABA requires that lawyers charge reasonable fees to clients, and while this is open to interpretation, 100% transparency around billing is always advantageous. 

      No visibility  

      A fragmented approach to time-tracking means there’s no way to analyze the data in one place.  

      You may know the total number of billable hours, but that’s it. You can’t easily determine, at a glance, how much time a team of lawyers spent on a given project. The next time you want to bill for a similar project, you’ll have to calculate from scratch how much to charge. 

      What’s more, if time-tracking is decentralized at your firm, you can’t analyze how to become more efficient because you don’t have easily accessible intel into how much time is spent, firm-wide, on billable vs. non-billable time.   

      The advantages of automated time-tracking 

      In contrast to manual techniques, automated time-tracking is like putting your time-tracking on auto-pilot. Here are a few of the advantages you’ll gain. 

      Capture more hours 

      Automated time-trackers work in the background, allowing lawyers to track time when they pop open Microsoft Office, any apps they choose, or email.  

      You even have the flexibility to exclude certain apps so that you don’t track time while using them (like FanDuel).  

      Automatic time-tracking eliminates the need to wait until the end of the day or week to track—it’s all happening quietly in the background. 

      Efficiency and accuracy 

      Legal-specific, automatic time trackers add many features to help ensure efficiency and accuracy. They allow you to:           

      • Run multiple timers simultaneously  
      • Pause with a click for a break (pausing all client work, even if you’re tracking for multiple clients at once) 
      • Use automatically-included 6-minute increment tracking 
      • Select a dropdown to enter LEDES codes (so you never have to do it manually at week’s end) 

      Moreover, with the right time-tracking software, all client hours are integrated with invoicing, so you don’t have to risk errors by manually reentering the time. Instead, all you have to do is double-check the invoice and hit send. 

      Improve your operations 

      With robust time-tracking software, your firm has all of the time-tracking analytics and reports in one dashboard. That means you can analyze the following: 

      • Each attorney’s billable hours 
      • Project view: How many hours went into each project? 
      • Client evaluation: Who is profitable to work with? 
      • Firm-wide evaluation: How much time is spent on billable vs. non-billable time? 

      And more —the point is you have the data and insights into work patterns, profitability, and areas that need to improve so that you can make data-driven decisions. 

      Skyrocket your billable hours 

      The many advantages of automated time-tracking are part and parcel of Rocket Matter’s best-in-class legal practice management software.  

      Is your firm done with the inefficiency of manual time-tracking? Are you ready to see your billable hours skyrocket? Start your free trial today. 

      Demystifying the Billable Hour: How to Right-Size Your Rates

      With prices rising so much over the last year (global inflation is forecasted at 8.8% in 2022), it’s the right time to look at your current rates and see if you’re charging enough to remain profitable.

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