Why time entry is so hard, according to Aderant
Article by Marie Burgess, director, product management.
A little while ago I had a chance to listen to some law firm partners discuss time tracking. As such, I had the opportunity to ask an important question: What is it about entering time that is so hard?
They said the answer stems from the fact lawyers work on multiple matters often for multiple clients on any given day. It’s time-consuming and challenging to reconstruct what they worked on at the end of a long day. Therefore, they delay the task until they have time to focus and think it over carefully.
This may well compound the problem because many of us have a hard time remembering what we did yesterday, let alone what we did last week, or even several weeks ago. It’s not a stretch to say our recollections become less precise with time, which means time entry only gets harder when the task is postponed.
Delays Usually Mean Underbilling, Not Overbilling
Accuracy in time and billing is important to lawyers out of a sense of ethics, a duty to be good financial stewards of client budgets, and also the increased scrutiny as a result of proliferating billing guidelines. Most lawyers don’t want to overcharge a client, but they also don’t want to underbill either.
This is where reconstructing time entries typically takes a twist. We’ve generally found lawyers are pretty good at remembering what they did over larger blocks of time – meetings, conference calls, or substantive work on documents – but what they forget is all the little things.
These little things are the impromptu client emails or the 15-minute phone calls that are sprinkled throughout the day. If a lawyer is providing good advice, even in brief interactions, it’s worth documenting and charging fair value.