Is tracking legal hours a hassle for your law firm?
Perhaps. Many law firms out there manually track their working time. It’s hard to track your time and calculate billable hours correctly, when it’s done manually.
Meanwhile, other industries have discovered the value of time tracking software. It helps them monitor productivity and price their services correctly. Why should the legal sector be any different?
Are you one of these lawyers who track time manually? Is calculating your time’s worth tiresome? If so, we’ve got good news for you.
You can easily track legal hours without all that hassle. Billing your clients can be simple, too.
If so, this post will show you:
- why you should use software to track your legal hours
- how to tell if you need software (and trust us, you do!)
- how to convince your team to track their billable hours
- which apps are the best to get you started
Let’s get straight to it.
Benefits of Tracking Legal Hours in Your Law Firm
Before we go any further, we need to start with the basics. Why should you track legal hours in the first place?
It turns out there are some good reasons for keeping track of how much time you spend at work.
Reason #1: See Where Your Time REALLY Goes
Self-awareness is crucial to running a company effectively. It helps you break up with unproductive cycles and activities.
Use time tracking software to understand your working habits. It gives you tangible data about time spent on specific tasks, specific clients and particular cases/projects. It also tells you what tasks are most time-consuming.
There’s no arguing with this information. These are not educated guesses or estimates. It’s real numbers that reflect how you work.
With the right data, you can manage your time better.
Reason #2: Price Your Time Correctly
Do you know how much your time is worth? It’s not uncommon for professionals to have only a vague idea about their time’s actual worth.
Some lawyers for years charge inadequate rates. Then they learn they could have placed the right price on their work.
Using tracking software for tracking legal hours helps you generate accurate billing information.
See how much time you spend on a task. Estimate whether your rate is up to the industry standard. Finally, determine if it matches your personal expectations.
Reason #3: Get Precise With Your Billing
Do you often wonder whether you didn’t miss an hour or two in your report? Tracking legal hours with software solves this issue.
Use it to see what you worked on and how long. This alone allows you to accurately prepare detailed invoices.
You can also use it to showcase your work to clients.
Reason #4: Improve Transparency
Transparency can work in your law firm on two levels. One, between your company and its clients. Two, within your team.
This kind of transparency can work wonders for trust building. Everyone knows where things stand. No additional questions are necessary.
Reason #5: Spot the Bottlenecks and Opportunities
Tracking your legal hours can improve your self-awareness. Through that, it increases your productivity.
There’s one more benefit related to it. It’s spotting bottlenecks and opportunities.
Time tracking reports show you what tasks turn into roadblocks. It alerts you when they take more time than they should. This way, you can instantly address the issue.
Use it to break bad habits and reforge ineffective processes.
Similarly, you can see when a task took less time. Learn from how it happened.
Imagine: you discovered someone in your company streamlined a tedious process. Your time tracking software will reflect it in the report. You can share this better workflow with your entire team.
We covered the five major benefits of time tracking solutions. Here’s how to tell if your law firm needs them.
5 Signs That Show You Need A Time Tracking Software Right Now.
Have a closer look at how your law firm works. Do any of the problems below occur daily? If yes, it’s time to invest in time tracking software.
You’re Struggling to Price Your Work Correctly
You aren’t sure how much your time is worth. You don’t know whether your pricing makes any sense. Oftentimes, you find yourself underpricing your services. You end up angry you didn’t offer a higher rate.
You Don’t Know the Real Value of Your Time
You don’t know how much time you need for a given task. Your prices are based on educated guesses. Your estimates often turn out far from the truth.
You Have Issues Planning And Scheduling
You often rush from one meeting to another. You take too much on your plate. Alternatively, you waste time during unnecessarily long, empty working blocks. All because you can’t accurately predict the length of your activities.
You Don’t Know What You’re Paying Your People For.
You pay the team when the time comes. Yet, you’re not sure what exactly you pay them for. Meetings? Preparing paperwork? Archiving paperwork? Wouldn’t you prefer to have more transparency in your team?
You Run Into Productivity Issues…
…and you don’t know where they’re coming from.
It seems like you’re missing deadlines. Or that tasks, in general, take longer than they should.
But who’s the person falling behind the schedule? What are the roadblocks? What takes the longest?
That you, sadly, don’t know.
How Do You Convince Your Team Tracking Legal Hours is Worth It?
It’s difficult to convince your team and coworkers to adopt legal hours tracking. Especially when your team isn’t exactly the tech-savviest.
You might end up facing several major challenges.
Your people may have a few quite reasonable concerns. First, discover what are their main concerns. What stops them from using time tracking software?
Prepare in advance to successfully relieve their worries.
Step #1: Address Their Fear of Being Controlled
Your team members may think you don’t trust them. It’s a common misconception. Tracking working hours is considered a form of micromanagement.
This is the main issue you need to address. Assure your team that you’re not trying to control them. Assure them that you trust them.
Specify why time tracking software is a good idea.
It’s strictly connected to the third point in this section.
Step #2: Talk About the Costs
Another common myth is the software cost.
Many people still believe that software is expensive. You’ll likely hear that it’s another unneeded expense.
This is a serious concern. It could end up being one of your main roadblocks. You can tackle it in two ways.
First, explain that time tracking software isn’t expensive. Years ago, any kind of IT solution was a high-end investment. It was out of reach for many small businesses.
Now, you can purchase cheap subscriptions. They may be as little as $5 a month per user.
Next stop is the ROI.
There’s not enough stressing it. Using time tracking software equals increasing revenue. How? By eliminating errors related to your workflow and pricing.
It’s crucial for your team to understand this relation. Yes, you do pay for software. But you use it to see where you lose money. With this knowledge, you can fix those broken elements.
As a result, even despite monthly subscriptions, your revenue increases.
Step #3: Present the Benefits
We have already shown you the benefits of tracking legal hours. Now, it’s your turn to educate your team as well.
You know best what issues your team struggles with. Show them how software can fix it all.
Don’t hesitate to go further than that. Tell them how the legal industry already uses such solutions. It means your competitors use it, too. If you can find specific examples, even better!
Step #4: Organize Training Seminars and Or Webinars.
Introduce elements of training even before you implement time tracking software. Your team needs to see it in action. That’s how they’ll understand its positive impact.
It’s a great way to show that time tracking is easy. Or, that using time tracking software isn’t anything complex.
One thing is most important, however. It is to assist your team in discovering new tools. Organize training seminars for your team, especially for the less tech-savvy members.
It will successfully address concerns or questions they’ll have. Someone needs to guide them through the discovery process.
What To Look For in a Time Tracking Software?
It’s not easy to pick the right time tracking app. After all, there are plenty of options available. Here’s what to look for in a time tracking software.
Features Adequate To Your Needs
Pay attention to what you pay for. There’s no point in paying for features you won’t use. Not even when they’re relatively cheap. See what’s in the subscription you’ve chosen. Choose the plan best fitting for your needs.
Flexible Pricing Plans
Pricing is important for businesses on a tight budget. Luckily, this type of solution isn’t expensive. By default, time tracking software is affordable.
Time tracking apps most often charge pers user. This means, the bigger your team, the more you’ll pay. However, most providers offer enterprise or custom plans. This allows you to negotiate special pricing for your company.
Easiness of Use
Pick software that is easy to use. User-friendly interface is a must. This way, you won’t have to run prolonged team training.
The easier your legal hours tracking app is, the better. There are apps that are overloaded with features. They stand out with complex interfaces. It’s not something you should go for. Especially when you’re only starting out with time tracking.
Power often lies in simplicity so look for a simple app. You can always find a more advanced tool later.
It’s likely you already use some software. Integrating it with your time tracker will be beneficial.
Integrations are useful but not mandatory. It’s good if your new time tracking software offers integrations.
Look at the given app’s integration library. See what options they offer. Is your current software on the list?
Excellent Customer Support
Customer support can make or break your user experience. Look for apps that offer an outstanding one.
The goal is simple. Whenever any issue arises, you’ll want it solved ASAP. Quickly reacting customer support teams are priceless.
Remember: excellent customer service speaks for the brand. It shows they care about you more than anything else.
The Best Time Tracking Apps For Lawyers
Below we’re going to show you five best examples of time tracking software.
Each and every one of them is unique in its own sense. They’re reasonably priced and equipped with specific features. They also answer different needs.
“Time tracking software to help your team be more productive while working from home” Remote work statistics actually suggests that you can be productive even while you work from home. One way to boost your remote work productivity is by tracking your work hours.
- Client and project based time tracking
- Attendance tracking
- Time Use Alerts
Time Doctor’s paid plans start at $10/user/month.
“Time Tracking, Billing & Invoicing the Way You Want It”
- Integrated with other available modules: project management and appointment scheduling
- Time tracking within the task
- Manual log editing
- Quick add time
- Multiple Currencies
- Hourly rates
- Project pricing models
Taskeo premium plans start at $5/per user/month for a basic module version.
“Simple time tracking. Powerful reporting.”
- Team Dashboard
- Profit vs. Labor cost
- Email reminders
- Scheduled alerts
- Manual Time Entries
Toggl’s paid plans start at $9/user/month.
“The only truly free time tracker for teams”
- Team Dashboard
- Detailed Time sheets
- Project Budgeting & Cost Tracking
- Team management
Clockify’s “extra” plans start at $10/user/month.
“All-In-One Small Business Invoicing and Accounting Solution”
- Built in an accounting software for small businesses
- Chrome Extension
- Calendar and dashboard overview
Freshbooks paid plans start at $15/user/month.
Are You Ready to Start Tracking Time at Work?
If technology can work in your favour, why not use it?
Tracking your legal hours can change your business forever. With the ever-growing software market, there’s what to choose from.
There are stand-alone time trackers. There are also these integrated with business management tools.
There’s an option for everybody and every kind of company.
It’s your turn now to give it a try. Are you in?