Integrated Time-Sheeting Functionality Creates Practice-Wide Management Efficiencies

For centuries, lawyers recorded their billable work by writing it down on paper time-sheets. Though some lawyers developed a keen sixth sense for the passage of time over their careers (many did not), this system of time-sheeting was inefficient at best, leaving incalculable hours unaccounted for over any given year. 

Lawyers who left time-sheeting to the end of the day, week, or month, counting on their memories to reconstruct how they spent their time, piled inefficiencies on inefficiencies. Not only did their law firms lose out on billings, but they also risked angering clients or running afoul of ethical standards when their recollections failed them.

The digital age heralded would-be improvements in time-sheeting by introducing software to replace paper time-sheets. The better of these solutions included time-capturing features, such as timers that started and stopped as lawyers switched from one project to another, matter-level identifiers to track work per project, and one-click reporting. Still, it wasn't easy for the industry to convince lawyers to transition to these more automated time-sheeting solutions. Indeed, many lawyers simply continued to fill out paper time-sheets, which they would hand to their admins to input, perpetuating the same inefficiencies as always, and adding new ones by creating opportunities for data entry error.

At LawMaster, we believe that one reason law firms at times struggled to transition to stand-alone time-sheeting solutions was because those solutions didn't go far enough in capitalising on the potential of new technology. These solutions were, in effect, merely digital recreations of the same time-sheeting systems that had existed for centuries. Though they introduced some useful automations of time-sheeting tasks, they did not integrate with other firm administrative functions. As a result, lawyers often struggled to see the benefit of giving up their tried-and-true paper time-sheeting habits.

With LawMaster's integrated practice management solutions that incorporate time-sheeting functionality, however, there are enormous benefits that lawyers tend to see right away. To begin with, all the best-in-class features of stand-alone time-sheeting 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 time-sheeting with other practice management functions. With time-sheeting functionality integrated, firms can:

  • Billing: translate time-sheeting 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. 

  • Matter Management: 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 time-sheeting functionality tends to win over even the most ardent technology sceptics and change-resistant lawyers. Not only does a solution with time-sheeting 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 time-sheeting functionality can help your legal practice, contact us today. 

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