Law Firm Timekeeping Software: Understanding & Improving the Relationships that Drive Profits

With the latest advancements that are now available in law firm timekeeping software, the legal profession’s long-required practice of relentlessly tracking every work-related activity can finally pay off ten-fold. Law firm leaders use today’s innovative law firm timekeeping software to open many windows into the firm’s relationships, with each time entry depicting the inner workings of multiple relationship endeavors. This new level of insight helps direct you in improving your law firm’s relationships in ways that optimize profitability. 

Timekeeping data: new perspectives on your relationships. 

Automated timekeeping features and data analytical capabilities now provide firm leaders with new perspectives on how client relationships evolve, how lawyers and practice groups collaborate, and how individuals interact with third parties. Each detail of every time entry transforms into a data point that you can track, measure, and evaluate.  

You can now quantify and analyze relationship factors such as who performed what activities, when, how long activities take to complete, who collaborates with whom and on what types of work, and more. Better understanding the factors that go into finding, developing, and maintaining relationships enables you to elevate your firm’s all-important relationship strategies. Three ways you can tap into powerful automations and data-driven insights to build relationships in ways that optimize profitability include:  

Create a path to problem-free e-billing and payment. 

If you’re dealing with increased numbers and complexity of outside counsel guidelines (OCGs) and e-billing requirements, you’re far from alone. Some 58% of law firm leaders say OCGs have lengthened their billing and collection cycles, with two-thirds reporting delays of 60 days or more. No doubt this ties into the fact that 3 out of 4 firms share OCGs with lawyers via (1) emailing them a summary or (2) publishing guidelines in their DMS or intranet and hoping lawyers look at it. 

Configurable timekeeping software options allow you to systemize your support of each client’s needs. You can tell your timekeeping software to automatically track and enforce OCGs and e-billing requirements specific to each matter. The system then reviews each time entry and ensures compliance before finalization. This is the first step in smoothing the pathway to problem-free e-billing and payments. 

Also save time, hassle, and money. 

Automated time tracking software monitors computer and email activity and creates the majority of a timekeeper’s time entries for them. As it does, the software also generates time entry narratives using your and your clients’ preferred wording based on your pre-established settings. As a result, timekeepers approve more detailed and consistently worded timesheets that are swiftly approved internally, then released to sail through your clients’ ebilling systems.  

The value of the time and hassle you save your clients and your firm with automated OCGs compliance and automated narratives cannot be understated. Meanwhile, you also reduce invoice rejections and fee write-offs. Your firm sends bills faster, and there are no reasons for payments not to follow quickly. 

Calculate more profitable pricing strategies. 

Timekeeping software puts information in data form to be aggregated, analyzed, and used in budgets—an increasingly important capability for law firms to master. More than half of law firm leaders say clients require budgets for a third or more of their matters. That number will only increase as budget pressures drive 78% of legal departments to plan on using alternative fee arrangements more. 

You can use timekeeping data to calculate averages on the time it takes to complete each activity, how many people are typically involved, and the associated costs. With more in-depth insights into your firm’s collaborative relationships and related expenses, you can develop more thorough resource assessments for new matters based on actual data from similar past matters. More accurate predictions help you ensure your firm’s pricing strategies target healthy profits.  

Identify areas where training, education, or automation can improve efficiency.   

Gaining a more transparent view into how each lawyer and staff member spends their days makes areas where manual work or bottlenecks slow down service delivery much more apparent. In the past, you could only recognize these issues in hindsight. Now you can compare current performance rates to averages calculated from previous timekeeping data to quickly spot and act to correct projects or tasks running overlong or consuming too many resources before they spiral out of control.  

Resolutions may include automating notifications to eliminate bottlenecks and automating report routing to create more efficient workflows instantly. As patterns emerge, you can see when to improve specific skill sets with targeted training and education. And being able to see exactly what issues associates struggle with helps firms improve firm mentorship programs. 

Many more advantages await law firms that adopt an intelligent timekeeping system. To learn much more about how timekeeping software can help you drive profitability, read our free ebook, “7 Ways to Continuously Optimize Law Firm Profitability Using Modern Timekeeping Software.

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