Time management is important for just about any business, and it’s particularly valuable for law firms. Since law firms usually bill for hundreds of dollars per hour, wasted time can cost a law firm thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Software has been developed to help companies and individuals track and manage their time better. Some software, like Workpuls, has been designed explicitly with organizations like law firms in mind.
Let’s take a closer look at how software is key to effective law firm management.
The Importance of Law Firm Time Tracking
Law firms often charge for their services hourly, which raises an immediate need for law firm time tracking software.
Whether you’re a large-scale legal firm or simply just wondering how to manage a small law firm better, you need to prevent your billable hours from draining away due to operational inefficiencies.
It’s common for lawyers to bill for fewer hours than they worked. A study showed the estimated average number of hours not billed is 5.87 hours every month. The impact of this underbilling quickly compounds relative to the size of law firms.
Suppose your firm of 15 associates bills $250 per hour. If each rep doesn’t track just 15 minutes per week, the organization will lose a whopping $48,750 of otherwise billable time in a single year. In many cases, it could mean a difference of tens of thousands of dollars every year for every lawyer working for a firm.
Now, imagine a law firm billing $400-plus per hour for hundreds of associates– yikes!
Lost Time Adds Up Fast
The occasional 15 minutes might not sound like much, but it’ll add up over the weeks, months, and years. That missed revenue could go towards hiring new associates or providing bonuses to top performers.
There’s a good chance the occasional 15 minutes extra happens more frequently than you realize, too. But, you won’t know without auditing your firm using some sort of time tracking software. Free timekeeping software for lawyers exists that can help support get a preliminary understanding of how your firm’s time is being allocated.
The fact that approximately 12% of billed hours go uncollected adds to need for law office time tracking software . Having an objective digital record of these hours makes it a lot easier to prevent missing payments from slipping through the cracks.
The Outdated Way Lawyers Keep Track of Time
How do lawyers track billable hours?
Many law firms are still using paper timesheets to track time. This is problematic for a number of reasons.
Paper timesheets are analog, meaning they’re still prone to shortcomings of human memory. Countless billable hours are lost due to busy schedules and our forgetful nature, especially if the guardian of memory is a lawyer with a big pending case.
The old school, analog way many law firms still operate, if a lawyer doesn’t track their time on the paper timesheet, it simply doesn’t exist.
Some lawyers may also be concerned with over-billing their clients, making them reluctant to add items they’re not entirely sure of adding.
Modernizing Law Office Management
It’s not just forgetfulness and the subjectivity of human decision-making that makes paper timesheets problematic; imagine having to audit the thousands of hours spent on a specific client by sifting through physical sheets of paper in 2021.
Access to modern technology has made paper timesheets archaic. Software like Workpuls automates the tracking of billable time for law firms, making it easier for firms to provide their clients accurate and up-to-date reports.
In a modern world where people expect companies to be up to date with technology, using archaic processes can leave a negative impression, particularly when justifying why certain hours were billed.
How Does Software Solve Law Firm Billing Issues?
Time tracking and employee monitoring software is a significant asset for law firms looking to maximize the tracking of billable hours and get a detailed view of their associates' efficiency and effectiveness. In short, it simplifies law office management.
Since the bulk of today's work is done behind a computer screen, it's effortless to integrate time tracking software into day-to-day operations.
Law firm time tracking software can start recording as soon as an associate starts working on a case, assign time across different cases being worked simultaneously, and be easily exported for clear, transparent billing.
Law firms management software can also generate key productivity insights for executives that reveal caseloads and lawyer billing trends. Key Insights that increase law firm efficiency and profitability.
So, as you can see, the benefits of law office time tracking software go far beyond the invoice.
Time Savvy Law Firms are Better for Clients
The value also ultimately passes down to the end-customer, allowing law firms to dedicate their resources to provide a better overall service to their clients.
For example, the reports generated by time tracking software can give clients increased visibility into how their lawyer is working on their case. Time tracking software for lawyers can even take screenshots at intervals and the client can get access to these screenshots.
Software like Workpuls even allows clients to log into the same system and get a real-time view of what work is being done and how much progress is being made. This will be preferable to many over having to wait for a monthly update or just the final bill.
The increased visibility will help clients understand the legal process in much greater detail than before, which helps to decrease the feedback loop between lawyer and client and enhance the overall experience of working together.
Final Thoughts: Becoming a More More Productive, Efficient and Agile Firm
Software helps law firms uncover and analyze a multitude of data points otherwise cast to the wayside. Lawyer time tracking app can also salvage hundreds of thousands of dollars of missed revenue per year.
Law firm management is an ongoing search to transform your firm into a more modern, productive, and profitable organization. It begins by using technology to empower your team to spend less time on administrative work so they can focus on their core competencies.
Ultimately, time tracking software allows law firms to operate more efficiently, get paid precise amounts for their time, and strengthen relationships with their clients.