Every single minute of your day is valuable. In fact, it can be argued time is an attorney’s most valuable commodity. The manner in which your time is billed is likely broken down into 6-minute increments that are carefully tracked and documented for financial purposes. The question is whether you and your staff are making the most prudent use of your time.
Why Time Matters so Much in the Context of Law Firms
Consider a situation in which a matrimonial attorney bills $300 an hour. This attorney has been working on a divorce case for 5 hours. The value of the case after this amount of time is $1,500. However, the phone rings toward the end of the day, interrupting work on the case. It is the attorney’s child. She is sick and needs assistance. The attorney picks up his daughter, finishes another couple work days filled with court appearances and fails to record his time on the divorce case during this time. Once the attorney shifts his attention back to the divorce case, he finds his paralegal put the case’s timekeeping records in a locked desk drawer.
If the situation detailed above were to unfold, you would likely undervalue your time invested in the case. The typical attorney’s tendency is to justify billing less minutes as they do not want to exaggerate the amount of time they invested in the case in the day(s) prior. As an example, let’s say you worked 5 hours on the case yet estimate you worked 4.6 hours. This underestimate shortchanges you about 10% of the work you invested in the case.
The average attorney considers the perspective of the client before sending out final billing. If the attorney questions whether he or she is actually worth the billed amount, consideration might be given to reducing the invoice by 10% to 20%. At this point, the attorney in the hypothetical situation is already out several hundreds of dollars he or she should be paid. Extrapolate this figure across multiple clients in the years ahead and it is easy for attorneys to lose out on tens of thousands of dollars or even more.
Automatic Time Tracking is the Solution
Ideally, time tracking will not chew up any time at all. Consider implementing automatic time tracking. There is no reason to strictly rely on your memory and gut instincts to bill clients when high-tech solutions are available. Do not cheat yourself or your law firm out of a single penny. Try an automatic time tracking solution such as Smokeball and you will rest easy knowing every single minute of your work day is properly tracked.