Accurate time tracking. It’s both the bane and the lifeblood of many law firms today.
Even if you bill on flat fees or contingencies, the actual task of tracking your billable time is enough to determine how you spend your free time.
How do YOU keep track of your time and expenses? Do you keep tabs in the back of your mind? Do you jot notes in a legal pad? If you’re still old-schooling it, it may be time to consider the use of a legal practice management software (LPM). If you already use one, give yourself a pat on the back, since chances are you’ve already been reaping all the benefits this technology has to offer.
Most LPMs were designed to give attorneys the ability to track their time and expenses both in the office or on the go. They understand that the ability to track everything with a few button clicks (or taps) is more of a necessity than a luxury, and it has the ability to profoundly impact firms’ revenues. This is why time and billing features are at the forefront of many of today’s LPMs.
Let’s say that you bill $150 an hour, and you neglect to track 10 minutes per day. This missed revenue equates to $25.00 per day, $125 a week, $500 per month and $6,000 per year PER timekeeper. Miss more than 10 measly minutes per day and you’ll be missing out on a lot of income.
Dawn Levine of Lyle & Levine, LLC had this to say in regards to Rocket Matter, a leading LPM with a strong focus on time and billing features:
“We have experienced a 30% increase in revenue because we are capturing so much time that previously went uncollected.”
Boom. No more excuses. No more untracked time. No more wasted revenue. It’s simple: track more, collect more.
Even if you don’t bill by the hour, it’s still worthwhile to track ALL your time, even that which is contingency-based. Deciding whether to track the time you just spent or will spend is complicated and slows down the process. Remember, your non-billable time adds up, too!
Tracking everything makes life easier for you and gives you an idea of how your time is legitimately spent. Track the time you spend on firm administration, marketing, bar related activities, CLE, etc. These hours may not be billable, but it will give you a better idea of how to set realistic billing goals and how to manage your firm’s business. Most LPMs will allow you to run reports to see things like your utilization rate, collection rate, and more importantly, your realization rate.
Let’s also talk about how the use of LPMs makes your billing a breeze. If all of your time is already logged into a software, invoicing your clients is just a few clicks away. Stop wasting hours of unnecessary administrative work on stuff that should only take you minutes. The time saved using an LPM for billing and invoicing will not only save you a massive headache, you’ll also be able to get your invoices out in a timely manner. And get this, the faster you get out your invoices, the quicker your clients are likely to pay them. It’s a win-win all around!
In short, adopting a legal practice management software for your time tracking and billing needs will lead to less admin time, more FREE time, and a heck of a lot more revenue for your firm.