Introduction:

The Law Firm Software Dilemma

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.

Challenges:

Addressing The Obstacles Of Attorney Time Tracking

Lost Hours

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:

  • The average utilization rate for law firms was 31%, which means
  • The average lawyer spent only 2.5 hours on billable work each day.
  • That means that only 1/3 of an attorneys’ workday is billable.

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.

Lack of Time

So where is all that time going? Studies show that some lawyers spend nearly half of their time on administrative tasks, including:

  • Licensing
  • Continuing education
  • Office administration
  • Invoicing
  • Technology, and
  • Collections

They spend another third on new business, which leaves even less time to actually practice law and do billable work.

Inefficiency

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:

  • Manually capturing time and expenses on paper
  • Writing out details of the client or matter and a description of the task on timesheets
  • Entering that information later into a billing database, or allocate inputting tasks to staff.

Every extra step in the process increases the likelihood of error, or of attorneys foregoing the process altogether, which leads to fewer billable hours.

Ethics

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.

Public Perception

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.

Benefits:

3 Ways Time Tracking Will Benefit Your Legal Practice

1. Save Time

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.

2. Save Money

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.

3. Increase Productivity

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.

LawBillity 101:

6 Features Law Practices Need

There are some features of law firm software that are non-negotiable when it comes to attorney time tracking and legal billing software.

Those include:

  • Mobile & Web Apps
  • Time Tracking
  • Expense Tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Codes & Conflicts
  • Reporting

1. Mobile & Web Apps

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.

2. Time Tracking

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.

Timesheets

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.

Expenses

3. Expense Tracking

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.

  • Take a photo of your receipt and upload it to an expense entry
  • Attach images of receipts to your invoices
  • Edit and approve expense entries before billing your clients
  • Create customizable expense types in seconds
  • Mark expenses as non-billable or billable and add markups if desired
  • Generate reports to see what expenses need to be reimbursed

4. Invoicing

Because our legal billing software was designed for law firms, invoicing is simple.

  • In just 4 clicks, generate an invoice that includes all time and expenses you’ve tracked.
  • Apply payments from trust accounts to your invoices.
  • Invite clients to review the balances for each trust you’ve set up.
  • Allow clients to login to your branded client portal, see their outstanding invoices and pay their fees.

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).

5. Codes & Conflicts

If efficiency is the goal with attorney time tracking, integration is the method.

With LawBillity, you’ll have access to:

  • ABA codes
    Every LawBillity account includes pre-loaded UTBMS codes to facilitate analysis of legal work and expenses.
  • Conflict Checker
    Ensure there are no conflicting clients or matters in the system before you bill your clients.

6. Reporting

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.

Conclusion:

Try LawBillity For Free

If you’re wondering whether LawBillity can save your legal practice time and money, try it. The trial is completely free, so no credit card is needed, and you can cancel anytime.

“LawBillity is a powerful program that has many features to assist attorneys and their staff to track billable hours and issue invoices. I would recommend this App to any ttorney/office manager looking for a timekeeping system."

LAURA KEEDY

LawBillity
Array

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.
TOP