As a legal professional, your time is valuable — but only if you track it. Experts estimate that lawyers lose 10-30% of billable hours by not accurately recording their time. That can add up to tens of thousands of dollars lost every year from inadequate timekeeping.
But how are you supposed to track time accurately when you’re running between your office, meetings and the courtroom? Or when you’re checking in on clients from the road, or finishing work at home at the end of the day?
Finding the right law firm software can be challenging but you do have options. The search for attorney time tracking and legal billing software can be simple, if you know what to look for.
In this eBook, we’ll explore those challenges and offer some solutions that will help you in your search for the right law firm software.
The biggest problem most legal professionals face is a shortage of time. For most, the solution is adding hours, but that’s not necessarily a sound strategy longterm.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), the solution should actually be finding more efficient ways to manage their practices. That starts by looking at utilization rate, or the number of hours billed divided by the number of hours worked.
The 2019 Clio Legal Trends Report showed that:
In addition only 81% of billable hours worked are invoiced, which means thousands of dollars are left on the table. Finding the right legal billing software with intuitive attorney time tracking features can help.
So where is all that time going? Studies show that some lawyers spend nearly half of their time on administrative tasks, including:
They spend another third on new business, which leaves even less time to actually practice law and do billable work.
One big obstacle to accurate attorney time tracking is that it is a multi-step process.
Some legal professionals who don’t have integrated legal billing software are:
Every extra step in the process increases the likelihood of error, or of attorneys foregoing the process altogether, which leads to fewer billable hours.
Billing must be accurate to be ethical. The ABA says that, “accurate billing is best achieved by contemporaneous timekeeping,” and that, “practitioners should strive to capture time in the most efficient method.” If your process is confusing, complex or inefficient, you may be opening yourself or your practice up to ethical questions.
There’s a strong public perception that legal fees are too high. In order to show your clients the value of good legal representation, you need to be able to provide clarity about your fees, rates and hours. If you can point to concrete numbers using legal billing software, you can be transparent with them from the beginning. That will automatically market back how worthwhile your services are to them.
The right law firm software can reduce the time you spend on administrative tasks by 30+ hours per month. Attorney time tracking, invoicing, legal billing — all can be digitized easily and affordably to save your practice time. With 71% of the top-performing firms using automated technology, most legal professionals believe efficiency is the way forward.
By tracking time electronically, you’ll improve the accuracy of your billable time. Studies have shown that tracking time down to the second can increase billable hours by up to 20%. And integrating your legal billing software with the system you use for attorney time tracking can bridge the gap between hours billed and hours invoiced.
Automation is key to productivity. That means you need a law firm software that includes specific features — automated timers, integrated mobile apps, conflict checkers, expense tracking.
There are some features of law firm software that are non-negotiable when it comes to attorney time tracking and legal billing software.
In the modern world, the office isn’t the only location where work takes place. You need to be able to work wherever you are, in spite of challenges such as interruptions or a poor WiFi signal. Time and billing apps like LawBillity allow you to easily maintain the profitable administrative tasks from any device, anywhere.
Easily run multiple timers to capture every billable minute, start a timer on your laptop and turn it off on your mobile device. And when you need to switch to flight mode for privacy you can still track time and sync the entry when you’re back online.
According to the ABA, billable hours are recorded most accurately at the time the work is done. “The longer you wait after the fact, the more time you lose.”
To facilitate this, they recommend the use of automatic timers that allow users to start and stop time rather than tracking it manually by looking at a clock.
Here are a few different ways legal professionals might use LawBillity to track time:
1 Start a timer in less than one second.
Before you save the entry, add a client, assign a service item, write a description (optional) and mark as billable or non-billable.
2 Add time manually with a weekly timesheet.
Input time entries for multiple clients and matters over multiple days.
3 Shift priorities.
Track time against two or more matters with multi-timers. An active timer will automatically pause as soon as a new timer is started.
One of the biggest challenges of finding legal billing software is expense integration. With LawBillity, you can track expenses from anywhere and even upload receipts on the fly via our mobile apps.
Because our legal billing software was designed for law firms, invoicing is simple.
With the legal invoicing format, invoices can be exported via Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standards (LEDES) or LSS formats, which makes it a breeze to import into accounting software.
You can also get paid faster with instant online payment options (LawPay, ACH electronic payments).
If efficiency is the goal with attorney time tracking, integration is the method.
With LawBillity, you’ll have access to:
Real-time reports help improve productivity, increase revenue, reduce unnecessary expenses and ensure you remain compliant with necessary regulations.
With LawBillity, you can quickly generate realization reports to monitor your legal team’s productivity and see who’s bringing in the business.