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Adapting to new ways of working

Financial ManagementTechnology & Knowledge
Kirsten Rillo24 August 2023August 25th, 2023

Our experience shows that embracing technology to automate time recording for law firms will lead to increased revenue and greater employee satisfaction.

Introduction

In an era driven by technological advancements, businesses across various industries including legal are witnessing a rapid transformation in the way they operate. Visionary Law firms are recognising the urgency to act to embrace technology to adapt to a new future and remain competitive.  Time recording is a manual workflow that is often ignored, yet it is the direct cause of writes offs, fee earner stress, resignation of top talent & missed billable time and subsequent revenue loss. The workflow of time capture and recording is simple and therefore an area where technology can bring significant and instant measurable benefits in the form of revenue gains and employee wellbeing benefits.

By implementing automated client activity capture and time recording methods, law firms can not only streamline their processes but also boost revenue and efficiency. In this blog, we will explore how embracing technology and automating time recording can help law firms evolve and grown in the digital age. We will look at how automation will solve write offs, ensure improved recovery a firm’s full billing potential and in parallel give fee earners valuable time back to spend on further revenue generating activity. In addition, we will provide insight into how law firms can assess the size of the opportunity for their firm and provide a guide to choose the right software and technology vendor to partner with.

The Challenges of Manual Time Recording

Traditionally, law firms have relied on manual methods for recording billable hours. This approach often involves fee earners and support staff manually recording their time spent on various tasks, such as client calls, meetings, drafting and reading documents, as well as court attendance. However, this manual process is prone to errors and inefficiencies, leading to revenue leakage, inaccurate billing, and wasted resources. Additionally, manual time recording can be time-consuming, diverting valuable resources away from core legal work.

The Power of Automation

Automation offers law firms a game-changing solution to the challenges associated with manual time recording. By leveraging technology, law firms can streamline the time recording process, minimize errors, and optimize resource allocation. Here are some key benefits that law firms can achieve by embracing automated time recording:

  1. Accurate and Efficient Time Tracking: Automated time recording systems eliminate the need for manual data entry, reducing the risk of delayed recording, errors, and discrepancies. Fee earners can spend time with their clients and simultaneously capture and record their time with ease, ensuring accurate recording and billing for every minute spent on legal activities. This accuracy not only enhances transparency but also enables law firms to optimize resource allocation and make informed decisions.
  2. Enhanced Productivity: Manual time tracking can be a tedious task for fee earners and support staff, often resulting in reduced productivity. By automating time recording, law firms can free up valuable time and resources that can be redirected towards core legal work. Fee earners can focus on providing quality legal services, while support staff can engage in higher-value tasks, fostering productivity across the organization.
  3. Investment in the firm’s biggest asset: Automated time tracking systems provide real-time reporting capabilities, giving law firms access to critical data and insights. By analysing this data, firms can gain valuable insights into their operational efficiency, identify bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions. Real-time reporting also enables firms to keep clients informed about the progress of their cases, fostering transparency and trust.
  4. Streamlined Billing and Increased Revenue: Automating time recording simplifies the billing process, ensuring accurate and timely invoicing for clients. By eliminating manual errors and discrepancies, law firms can significantly reduce revenue leakage and increase cash flow. Additionally, automated time tracking allows firms to capture previously overlooked billable activities, maximizing revenue potential.

Assess the size of the opportunity & challenge for your firm – Spend a moment in the facts

What do the numbers say?

Data driven decisions and researching the time and costs will allow a firm to objectively assess the size of the challenge and the associated opportunity.

By understanding and surfacing the discrepancy between the occupancy of their employee’s time compared to meeting their daily budgets, what is being recorded as well as the time support staff spend on assisting with time capture and recording activity will allow a firm to measure the size of the challenge.

Our experience tells us that the gap is as a result of;

  • missed time, time the fee earners have either forgotten to capture or underestimated.
  • Delayed billing – the fee earner not recording time each day and writes offs are needed.
  • The time fee earners must take to stop and create their timesheets each day.

We invite you to spend a moment to go through the calculators below and identify your firms’ measures.

https://mitimes.net/calculators/revenue-impact.html

 

Choosing the Right Time Tracking Software & Technology Partner

When it comes to automation of workflows that impact the client facing and revenue generating work force, law firms must take care to select the right technology and vendor to partner with. Here are some essential features and partner attributes to consider when assessing the market;

  1. User-Friendly Interface: The software should have an intuitive interface that is easy to navigate and use, ensuring seamless adoption across the organization.
  2. Integration Capabilities: Look for software that integrates with existing practice management systems and other tools commonly used by law firms. This integration eliminates the need for duplicate data entry and enhances workflow efficiency.
  3. Cloud based technology:

True cloud-based software equals a flexible, consistent, and high user performance with little opportunity for faults.

  1. Cyber & Data Security: where is the software located? is it important it resides in Australia. Does the vendor have a security strategy. How do they ensure your data is as secure as possible and the software does not impose a risk to your firm? Questions to ask such as how they store and manage your data? Are they essential 8 compliant or ISO27001 certified?
  2. Mobile Accessibility: Opt, for software that offers mobile accessibility, allowing fee earners and support staff to access the tool from other devices than their desktop and track time on the go. This feature ensures accurate time recording, even when working remotely or attending client meetings outside the office.

Technology Partner /Vendor attributes to consider when selecting a vendor;

  • Industry knowledge. Do they understand the legal industry and associated business challenges.
  • Are they experts in the workflow their technology can solve?

Change management.

  • How will they assist your firm with the change to the new technology?
  • Do they have an implementation framework and documented milestones?
  • Will they assist with a best practice approach for maximum adoption of the tool?

Ongoing support & service

  • How will the technology partner support your users?
  • How flexible are they around training or support requests?
  • Where will support resources be located?
  • Do the service levels align to your expectations?

Future product roadmap

  • Is there a shared product roadmap?
  • Are future features be included in the original investment?
  • Is there demonstrated continued innovation ?
  • Can you influence future product feature decisions?

 Conclusion

As technology continues to reshape the legal industry, law firms must embrace automation to adapt to the new future and achieve increased revenue. Automating time recording processes offers numerous benefits, including accurate time tracking, enhanced productivity, real-time reporting, streamlined billing, and increased revenue. By choosing the right time tracking software, law firms can optimize their operations, foster transparency, and provide better client service. Embracing technology is not just about staying relevant—it’s about leveraging the power of automation to adapt in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Author

Kirsten RilloMitimes logo and tagline
Kirsten Rillo
Chief Executive Officer at Mitimes
 

Passionate about technology and strategy.  Experienced Executive helping industries with the application of technology solutions to achieve successful business transformation outcomes.

Reach out to have a chat about how we can help your firm transform.

Kirsten Rillo, Chief Executive Officer

Ph: 0419 816 839

E-Mail: kirstenr@mitimes.com

LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kirsten-lolk-rillo-b577bb4/

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