Traditional billing methods often result in revenue leakage due to unbilled hours, directly impacting the firm’s bottom line, and can strain client relationships, leading to disputes and loss of trust.
For firms, enforcing time tracking, and legal time management in general, is crucial for maintaining a positive cash flow, pricing services, accurate forecasting, and sound budgeting. However, manual time tracking is inefficient, time-consuming, and prone to human error.
Lawyers must remember to start and stop timers for each task, which can often waste time. They then have to enter their hours into a separate billing system. These disjointed tracking and billing processes and the tedious nature of manual time tracking reduce lawyer productivity. Attorneys may even avoid logging hours altogether to avoid the hassle.
Ultimately, traditional billing methods often result in revenue leakage due to unbilled hours, directly impacting the firm’s bottom line, and can strain client relationships, leading to disputes and loss of trust.
Benefits of Legal Time Management Software
Legal time management software transforms your firm’s time tracking and billing processes with intelligence process automation. It creates a more efficient and productive law firm by:
Automating time tracking
Time management software for law firms automates time tracking, near-eliminating the possibility of human error. Lawyers can track the time for tasks completed, events scheduled and emails sent. Automated time-tracking capabilities ensure every billable minute gets logged while reducing the burden of manual time tracking on attorneys. It also helps mitigate revenue loss from unbilled hours and inaccurate tracking.
Increasing billing accuracy
Seamlessly integrating time tracking and invoicing eliminates duplicate data entry and enables faster billing with fewer mistakes. Avoiding manual re-entry between systems saves time and allows you to generate detailed invoices faster.
Providing data-driven insights
Most legal time management software provides data-driven insights into productivity, profitability, budgets vs. actuals, unbilled work, and more. These reporting insights can help law firm leadership make informed decisions about resource allocation and workflow management. It also helps firms identify opportunities through metrics on utilization rates, billable hours goals, and more.
Enhancing client satisfaction
Transparency is a huge trust-builder. Directly translating detailed time entries into accurate invoices provides transparency for clients on work performed, reinforces the value of your firm, and strengthens client relationships.
The easiest way to adopt legal time management software is to integrate it with your legal practice management system.
Top Features of Law Firm Time Management Software
Attorney time management software offers an array of features tailored to the specific needs of law firms, including:
The ability to track time easily within a variety of task types
Most time management software should offer multiple ways to bill for time, whether you’re doing research, on a phone call or sending an email.
With CARET Legal, there are 11 ways attorneys can bill for time:
- Using the timer
- Converting a Calendar entry to a time entry when associating it with a matter
- Creating a time entry from the Activity Log
- Converting a task to a time entry
- Creating a time entry using the Quick Add feature
- Creating a time entry inside a matter
- Navigating to the Time section and starting a timer
- Tracking time while composing an email
- Starting a timer with the Notes from Phone Call feature
- Creating a timer within our document editor
- Tracking time through an Apple Watch
Rules-based time tracking
Your legal time-tracking software should let you create custom time entry rules for specific scenarios, clients, and matters. For example, you could set up a rule that prohibits the use of selected words or phrases that can trigger invoice rejections. These time entry rules improve accuracy and consistency while enhancing data quality and reporting.
Correspond with your calendar
Syncing your legal calendar with your time management software allows you to automatically log appointments, calls, meetings and other events as billable time entries. This prevents missed billable hours by seamlessly translating calendar activities into tracked time.
The legal time management software you choose should synchronize across multiple devices, including mobile and desktop platforms. This ensures seamless time tracking, regardless of the device used, or where the time tracking occurred.
Transitioning to Time-Tracking Software at Your Firm
The easiest way to adopt legal time management software is to integrate it with your legal practice management system. Outside of leadership buy-in, the best way to ensure the quick adoption of new software is to make sure you choose a provider that can meet the specific needs of your firm. You should also:
- Encourage Feedback: Gathering user feedback during the initial rollout phase can help maximize adoption and address any potential issues early.
- Training and Support: Providing thorough training and ongoing support can ease the transition and ensure users can make the most of the software’s functionality.
Legal time management software is a powerful tool that can drastically enhance a law firm’s productivity and financial performance. By automating time tracking and billing, law firms can avoid revenue leakage, reduce administrative burdens, and focus more on delivering superior client service.