6 Advantages of Digital Time Tracking for Lawyers
Legal professionals are always up against the clock – there’s always more that can be done in a day, but not enough time to do it all. As a result, many lawyers just put in the time instead of finding more efficient methods, like digital time tracking. The most common challenges law firms face are time wasted on administrative tasks, new client acquisition, cost control, and expense growth. Many of these challenges can be corrected with modern legal technology. As an industry that bills by the hour, these inefficiencies can mean significant revenue loss.
Lawyers do a lot of work on computers, so adopting modern technology practices only makes sense. Time-tracking software can run in the background to properly track time and improve law firm processes.
Here are the 6 advantages of digital time tracking for lawyers.
1. Tracking Potential Lost Revenue
Automated timekeeping tools take a lot of the error, stress, and time out of the tracking process. These solutions can track both billable and non-billable hours, so lawyers can see where they’re losing valuable time on unrelated tasks that impede the workflow.
Data is important for improving law firms as a business. For example, a lawyer charging $200 an hour may not bill for an hour of overtime, which is $200 a day lost. Assuming that happens at least once a week, that’s a potential loss of over $10,000 a year! Time tracking can ensure that this time is billed, and paid for, for more accurate revenue.
2. Revealing Inefficiencies
Timekeeping software not only tracks the billable time that isn’t billed, but it reveals what lawyers spend their time doing. Many law firms have lawyers spending time on non-legal business activities, such as marketing, accounting, and administration.
If the digital time tracking shows a lot of time spent on non-billable activities, leading to a loss of revenue, a law firm can outsource those activities. For example, law firms can hire an accountant, administrative assistant, or marketing professional for in-house work, or delegate tasks to contract workers during busy periods.
Many tasks can be automated with technology solutions as well, such as electronic payment processing software for time and billing and bookkeeping services to generate invoices. Ideally, law firms will choose software specifically designed for legal professionals to maintain compliance with rules of professional conduct.
3. Improved Billing Accuracy
Lawyers at both boutique and large law firms typically bill by the hour, but the time spent on client cases doesn’t always consider face-to-face meetings with defined timeframes or scheduled phone calls that run over.
Proper time tracking and billing must include the time spent on tasks like:
Lead follow up
Travel to and from meetings
Without clear and organized time tracking, lawyers may struggle to create accurate timesheets. This not only ensures that lawyers are billing for all their time but offers a detailed invoice for transparency and trust with the client.
4. Mobile Access
Many legal software solutions include mobile apps, which are perfect for on-the-go lawyers. Depending on the nature of a case, a lawyer may be running between the courtroom, the law office, lunch meetings, or the library for research.
On-the-go lawyers struggle more with timekeeping, but legal software solutions offer mobile apps to help with tracking time outside of the firm. Whether in the office or in the field, timekeeping apps track hours accurately and update in real-time in a secure, centralized cloud database.
5. Customizable Reporting
Different law firms face different challenges with efficiency and accuracy, so a one-size-fits-all approach may not work. Time-tracking solutions offer customizable reports to pull data and view it in simple visualizations for managers and team members to interpret.
Managers can view just about any aspect of the firm’s performance, including work-in-progress, outstanding balances, time spent with a specific client, all calculated by user, client, or project.
6. Time-Saving Features
Legal timekeeping software offers many features to improve efficiency and workflow, such as:
Automated timers that allow users to start and stop time, rather than tracking it manually. Meetings run over and people forget to stop the clock, so having an automated system ensures that the tracking is as accurate as possible. Some systems also allow tracking multiple tasks, so users can easily stop tracking time for one task and toggle to another quickly and easily.
Voice commands that allow users to stop or start timers without needing to be near the computer. Most people speak faster than they type, so having voice commands captures time quickly and easily. Entries can be edited and synced to client management systems as well.
Customization features that allow lawyers to create detailed, custom reports and invoices for consistency and continuity. Custom reports offer virtually limitless options for time and billing data, all with custom filters and optional views to get a holistic picture of the firm’s operations.