The billable hours hold a vital place within the legal sector. For most lawyers and law firms, it’s the criteria for measuring the valuable input they put in a case and getting compensated for tasks completed in the case. But it also can be a struggle when the cash coming into the firm doesn’t seem to match the hours and energy being put into the case.
To resolve this challenge it’s important to implement strategies that can maximize your and your firm’s billable hours. Oftentimes, attorneys don’t even recognize that they have inefficiency gaps in their time tracking and billing processes. They only have a feeling of not getting compensated for their work and feel overworked. Before implementing strategies to maximize your firm’s billable hours be sure to analyze the patterns and processes that are currently being followed in your firm so that you can accurately find areas of improvement. Then, consider a number of the subsequent tips to maximize your law firm’s billable hours.
As a lawyer, you’re keenly conscious of what percentage hours you bill on a regular day.
Billable hours are the center point of the motivation of your firm and therefore the key to operating a successful legal business, and there are ways to maximize them without sacrificing your sanity or personal life.
1. Utilize Document Templates
It is believed that lawyers and legal professionals’ major work is to investigate and prepare for the courtroom, but what people tend to overlook is that it also includes a huge amount of paperwork while one is preparing for a case. Lawyers are in the business of creating, filling, updating forms and documents. But despite this being a core part of the task, document creation is often where law firms spend countless hours and roadblock their productivity; most attorneys don’t have precise drafting technology and spend hours creating documents from scratch or attaching templates from old documents.
It is advisable to have standard document templates that should be kept to be used as the basis for document creation. But as all lawyers know, rules in the legal sector are ever-changing, and so are law firms. Everything from standard clauses to a firm’s branding will ultimately need to be updated with time and your investment in best-practice templates will be completely wasted if those templates grow obsolete and out of date.
That’s why a vital productivity hack for increasing the billable hours is to get document management software that carries out the job of maintaining documents and giving customizable document templates.
2. Delegation Of Tasks
A key for increasing billable hours is when you have a proper and strategic delegation of tasks in your organization.
Delegation of tasks not necessary means that you need to hire expensive professionals. You can delegate duties strategically to your current employees. You have employees for a reason to support you, delegate less important, non-billable administrative tasks to your employees for e.g. assigning all call making duties to your receptionist, you can also hire paralegals for dealing with less profitable tasks which bill at a lower hourly rate.
Save the most profitable tasks for the highest billing members of your firm. To maximize most of your billable hours, make sure you’re delegating and not doing something that a paralegal could be doing.
3. Adapting Automation
Automation is and has always been one of the vital tools in combating productivity challenges. Automation can help you in countless ways in increasing the billable hours in your firm. If you are a solo attorney who doesn’t have other support staff to assist them in non-billable tasks, automation can be the tool they can rely on.
Even if you are firm and you want your employees to focus completely on clients and more vital details of the case, having an automation tool will act as an added assistance in increasing your billable hours.
There are countless options available in the market for practice management solutions where you can get features like automation of emails, document management, automated invoicing, bulk invoicing generator, client management, LEDES billing format, and much more. You just need to shortlist software according to the needs and size of your firm.
4. Track All Parts Of Your Time
While working on a case legal professionals tend to overlook small details, to find gaps in your working cycle it’s essential to know where the time has been spent.
Don’t just track your billable time because non-billable time can show you just as much about what is happening within your firm. To increase your billable hours you need to look where you can reduce your time in nonbillable hours and use the gained time in completing billable tasks.
Have all employees track their whole working schedule, whether billable hours or not. When you have a clear view of where your firm time is spent you can properly analyze and prepare strategically \use your resources and increase your billable hours. Maybe you notice that your junior associate is spending too much time on a task that your secretary can handle. A proper analysis of time can give you insights into where improvement is needed
5. Same Tracking Procedure Company-Wide
Proper and precise time tracking doesn’t just fall on one member of the practice. It should apply to the whole firm staff. believe what proportion of money is potentially lost firmwide when time isn’t adequately tracked.
By creating and sharing an office-wide policy, you communicate the importance of accurate time tracking among every member of the firm, while implementing processes that sell. drafting a written policy can significantly affect the time tracking process of your legal practice to maximize billable hours in a day.
Create a policy that needs time entry as tasks are completed. Then, implement a system for the weekly review of your time entered, in order that gaps are often quickly identified and addressed. Also, set a typical legal billing procedure, so invoices leave on a daily basis.
6. Record Your Tasks On Completion
Lawyers have countless tasks to be crossed off their tasks sheet, the constant stress of deadlines, in events like these remembering the work you do is quite difficult.
Don’t wait till the end of the day to mark your tasks as completed and record the time spent on client tasks. In constant stress, memory tends to forget and it’s not reliable which creates a strong possibility of inaccurate start and stop times.
You may forget that you made a few calls in the morning while filling up a legal contract, instead of waiting to record tasks and time as they are completed throughout the day. This way it is much easier and convenient for time tracking and it also helps you to boost your productivity on hand as your task sheet is simplified and you don’t need to hover on to find which tasks need to be done and which are completed.
7. Productivity With Right Time Tracking Software
There is no shortage of time tracking software in the market and having the right time tracking software is as equally important as implementing strategies to increase the billable time. Shortlisting a time tracking software can be an exhausting job but having the right time tracking software is essential for the proper working of your firm.
While you look for time tracking software make sure to look for features like time tracking between switching of applications. Or offline tracking of time, or you are someone who works on the go, then look for time tracking software that has a robust mobile app. If you use integrations, then having a time tracking software that has integration you usually use while working.
It will save your time in switching applications to applications for basic work. The right tool will help you to streamline your workflow and save time so you can focus more on client work.
Everyone in the legal sector works hard whether it’s a lawyer or any other legal professional. Your time is the most valuable resource and an asset to you, it is fair to say that you should make the most out of it. Billable hours are not just criteria to get paid but also the valuable input, hard work, and tasks you do.Increasing your billable hours will not only give monetary benefits but will increase your productivity by focusing on all work done and eliminate the tasks which can be delegated. Also having a good case management system can help you a lot in boosting your productivity and keeping a proper record of your time spent whether billable or not billable.