For centuries, lawyers recorded their billable work by writing it down on paper timesheets. Though some lawyers developed a keen sixth sense for the passage of time over their careers (many did not), this system of timesheeting has many inefficiencies, leaving incalculable hours unaccounted for over any given year.
To this day some legal practices rely on analog time sheeting, many lawyers still leave timesheeting to the end of the day, week, or month, relying on their memories to reconstruct how they spent their time, piling inefficiencies on inefficiencies. Lawyers work extremely hard and they want to get the compensation they deserve for their hard work, but not at the expense of their client who they have unintentionally overbilled.
The digital age has heralded would-be improvements in timesheeting by introducing software to replace paper timesheets. The better of these solutions include time-capturing features, such as timers that start and stop as lawyers switch from one project to another, matter-level identifiers to track work per project, and one-click reporting. Suddenly Lawyers weren't as reliant on their memory to summarise their work day.
Still, it wasn't easy for the industry to convince lawyers to transition to these more automated timesheeting solutions and some still have not fully adopted it. Indeed, many lawyers still continue to fill out paper timesheets, which they hand to their admins to input, perpetuating the same inefficiencies as always, and adding new ones by creating opportunities for double handling data entry errors.
At LawMaster, we believe that one reason law firms at times struggle to transition to truly integrated timesheeting solutions is because those solutions don't go far enough to capitalise on the potential of technology. Some solutions are, in effect, merely digital recreations of the same timesheeting systems that has existed for centuries. Though they introduce some useful changes to "classic" timesheeting tasks, they do not integrate with other firm administrative functions. As a result, lawyers often struggle to see the benefit of giving up their tried-and-true paper timesheeting habits.
To truly get the full benefit of techology, it must incorporate timesheeting functionality,seamlessly with your other systems and workflows. Take LawMaster for example, all the best-in-class features of stand-alone timesheeting solutions are there, such as start-and-stop timers for individual matters and one-click reporting enabling lawyers to generate a summary of their work. But the real benefits, the ones lawyers soon see when they're introduced, flow from the integration of timesheeting with other practice management functions. With a truly interconnected practice management software you can greatly improve your efficinecy and focus your time on providing your clients with the best possible service. With timesheeting functionality integrated, firms can:
- Billing: translate timesheeting data directly into invoices to be sent to clients, eliminating data entry errors from duplication, enabling efficient lawyer review and editing of invoices, and maximising profit.
- Financial Management: see potential and actual revenue generated per hour worked, creating the ability to identify particularly profitable practice areas, clients, and matters.
- Document Management: track time spent drafting and reviewing documents by associating them with specific client and matter identifiers.
- MatterManagement: spot and correct matters at risk of bloated billing, and analyse productivity on matters that are billed on a flat-fee basis.
- Client Relationship Management: generate reports that include data on time spent developing client relationships, and conversion of that time into new clients and matters.
- Human Resource Management: evaluate performance of lawyers across a variety of metrics, including type of matter, type of billable task, and practice area.
- Knowledge Management: identify with precision which lawyers have expertise in particular matters and tasks, helping to eliminate duplication of effort.
By creating these and many more efficiencies, a law practice management solution that integrates timesheeting functionality tends to win over even the most ardent technology sceptics and change-resistant lawyers. Not only does a solution with timesheeting integration create seamless automation of tasks and reporting, it also enhances the base of knowledge from which firm leaders can make decisions, leading to knock-on efficiencies and insights that can bolster firm performance and morale.
To learn more about how LawMaster's integrated law practice management software with timesheeting functionality can help your legal practice, contact us today.