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The Challenge Of Tracking Billable Hours In Legal Practice

Tracking billable hours is a stressful activity for many lawyers. Though it is important, some attorneys don’t do it because they feel it as an additional activity and an unnecessary disruption to their workflow. Typically, attorneys deal with many clients and multitask on various legal challenges in their daily work activity. They have to either stop their workflow to note the hours they have spent or record it later when they are not working on client activities. Attorneys who are usually busy, do not like to stop their actual work and focus on timekeeping activities. Since the hours spent on recording or logging the time entries is not billable, they show less interest in timekeeping. However, the consequence of not tracking exact billable hours can hurt the income from their practice. They may lose income on billable hours and may feel agitated that affects their current work quality, and also feel dispirited as they are not making enough profit despite their hard work. One way to handle this approach is to minimize the gap between the work done and entry of time recorded. With the help of an efficient system like Legal time tracking software, attorneys can log their day-to-day activities conveniently and easily. Using the software, there will be minimal chance of missing out on billable income due to improper billing or recording of working hours.

Challenges in time capturing

-Whether attorneys work individually or part of a law firm, it is important to always keep a record of their billing hours. If attorneys do not capture billable hours in a timely manner, they cannot exactly reconstruct day’s activities on a later date. Even as early as next day, there is a chance of missing out on few minutes in recollecting the working hours. -The lawyers have to make it a habit to record hours promptly at the earliest opportunity. The interruptions or gaps in noting down the hours may lead to inaccurate entries and wrong billing. -Some lawyers use ineffective methods in tracking billable hours. They practice old traditional methods for recording hours such as using pen & paper, timer or spreadsheets. Such methods can only disrupt the workflow as they require more time and manual effort. It also hinders work performance of attorneys because they will be more focused on creating time entries rather than concentrating on real work. -Time management is critical to attorney’s success. Effective time management skills help attorneys to monitor the progress on different projects, prioritize the tasks and estimate the time for completion. Tracking helps them to control their work loads and organize the time to work more efficiently on different client projects. -Attorneys deal with many intermittent interruptions in their daily work schedule as they may also have to focus on phone calls, emails and instant messaging. It becomes hard for them to recall and record small bits of minutes at the end of the day. This can lead to incorrect self-editing of time spent on projects which can add to several lost hours at the end of the month. -Attorneys often work away from their desks and outside their offices. They may attend client calls in a car or reply to the case by email from outside the office. Some of them may not have a right tool to make entries on the go. If they don’t have a right system to make immediate time entry, there is a chance of under-reporting the billable hours and generating wrong bills to the client.

How to optimize time tracking?

The better way to optimize time tracking is to use a system such as legal time tracking and billing software which not only facilitates recording of billable hours but has comprehensive features for flexible billing. The attorneys can save their valuable hours that they spend daily in preparing time entries and generating bills. Regardless of how the attorney bills to their clients, whether a flat rate or on an hourly basis, the software can automate the workflow for higher productivity. It is the effective way to capture the time entry information and address the billing issues, even when the attorney is swamped with multiple tasks.

The Time and billing software from TimesManager is a cloud based system designed specifically for law firms to efficiently manage time tracking, invoicing & billing activities. TimesManager online billing software offers accessibility to time and expense tracking, split billing, CRM and document management. To make the bill processing more efficient, the software also integrates with LEDES, ABA and UTBMS task code applications.

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