Why time entry is so hard and what law firms can do about it
Time recording in law firms should be second nature to a fee earner, as this is fundamentally how a firm knows what to charge their client and enables the firm to understand the activity of their staff. With this being the case it should be expected that time recording and doing so properly us a given!
However, it remains the case that in many firms this is far from the truth and often time recording is not seamless and it is not fully adopted firm wide.
Whilst it is true to say that some firms work in fixed fees, this is not always the case and a significant number of legal transactions are charged on a time or hourly rate basis.
In fact it is more arguable, in a law firm or department that does work to fixes fees, that time recording should be adopted in any event. The management information extracted from the time recording platform can help a firm understand their processes and help identify issues and drive change which will lead to enhanced profitability, changes to the fixed fees or different ways of working.
The question is why?
There are a number of reasons fee earners and staff battle to time record correctly and on an ongoing basis, we investigate some below.
One of the main reasons legal time recording is not undertaken seamlessly, by fee earners, is that it is often seen as an inconvenience or irritation, when there are so many other important things to do such as providing legal services, and ensuring the advice given to clients, and the actions taken to progress a matter are appropriate and correct.
In some firms the time recording platform may not be the easiest to use so it is cumbersome and difficult, resulting in time recording being avoided or tackled when necessary, as opposed to when needed.
Perhaps the firm has not provided adequate training on what should be time recorded, what is chargeable and what is non chargeable. With so many different approaches to time recording it can never be assumed that a fee earners knows how and what to time record.
These are some of the reasons and barriers which result in time recording not being carries out effectively. However, non of them are acceptable or take away firm the fact that for a firm to ensure its billing is correct, it must be done properly and account for the time sent providing the legal service.
Properly means accurate, up to date time recording that is clear and concise as to what has been performed, enabling the firm and the client to understand what they are being charged for and why. This is not achieved well by retrospective or bulk time recording which often happens.
How then can a firm instill behaviours into their fee earners to ensure time recording is undertaken accurately and efficiently, enabling them to realise all the benefits from an effective time recording solution?
The answer is twofold!
Train & Educate - Train your fee earners and make sire they know how to time record and why - but it does not stop there.
RevenueManager - Provide your fee earners with a seamless, intelligent and non-invasive solution. Law firms need to change behaviours and they do this by 'gently' pushing their fee earners in the right direction.
This is where Enable helps with its innovative and effective software solution RevenueManager.
RevenueManager us a solution which ensures billable time is captured promptly by continually monitoring time recording, notifying fee earners of missing time and overriding other applications to ensure fee earners do time record. Time-recording behaviour will therefore be transformed without the need for finance or management to intervene.
With RevenueManager in your firm you can be assured that time recording
will become easier and more accurate.