The necessity of mobile and offline time tracking
Accurate law firm time tracking is more than simply a matter of time management. It’s a matter of ethics, profitability, and practicality. Yet, try as you might, some legal time tracking tools don’t provide a full and accurate picture of attorneys’ billable and non-billable hours.
The reason? Because they don’t allow you to track time on the go.
When tracking time offline is impossible, attorneys must revert to outdated, imprecise methods of timekeeping to fill in the gaps. And these methods inevitably fall short when they come up against the complexities of tracking today’s legal work.
Off-line time tracking—and its risks
Tracking hours manually with a pen and paper or a spreadsheet
At best, taking time out from billable tasks to conduct law firm time tracking with a pencil and paper is a distraction. At worst, focused attorneys forget to do so altogether. Later, when a Wi-Fi connection becomes available, logging the data into time tracking software burns valuable, potentially billable time.
Some attorneys that do their time tracking on the go—without proper legal time tracking tools—dedicate a spreadsheet or particular notebook to the practice. Others may scribble down entries on napkins, receipts, and other easy-to-lose “stationary,” creating yet another barrier to accurate law firm time tracking.
Not to mention, this kind of double data entry is risky, because it creates an opportunity for typos, double time entries, and missing time entries in your time and billing software.
Filling in time entries from memory once Wi-Fi is (finally) available
Attorneys’ calendars—and minds—are chock full of client intake tasks, discovery, meetings, court dates, and more. It’s no one’s fault, but relying on an overextended memory for accurate law firm time tracking isn’t just ineffective—it’s impossible.
Even when an attorney uses email and phone records as a mental refresher, searching for clues to timestamp the work before manually typing it into your legal time tracking tools isn’t fool proof. It can be time-consuming and tedious, too.
Playing the guessing game isn’t doing your law firm’s payroll any favors, either. One could even argue that this common practice is immoral because adding entries to your time tracking software after the fact can lead to glaring inaccuracies that directly impact clients’ invoices.
Four benefits of law firm time tracking software with offline time tracking
1. Reports on billable and non-billable hours become more applicable
Whether you’re considering a new billing software or adopting a flat fee billing arrangement, high-quality law firm time tracking records let you make data-driven decisions about your daily operations. Remember, you can’t analyze data that you don’t have.
Your time tracking software’s reporting features are more accurate when attorneys can track time on the go. This way, the information reflected by your legal time tracking tools is more reliable and blind spots are eliminated.
2. Client invoices are more detailed and precise
If you’re invoicing clients on an hourly basis, software that allows attorneys to track time on the go is non-negotiable. Your clients don’t expect a paragraph-long explanation for every five-minute increment billed, but a clear, well-detailed invoice is always appreciated.
Yet when attorneys aren’t able to track time spent responding to phone calls and emails outside of the office, the quality and consistency of law firm time tracking suffer.
In particular, the descriptions of time entries decline in quality. For example, an attorney may easily remember answering a client’s phone call after-hours and the details of what was discussed, but not the time and date the call took place.
On the flip side, when time tracking software is flexible and convenient, maintaining accurate records about the services provided to clients is much less challenging.
3. Billing processes are transformed
In addition to traditional billable hours, most firms rely on alternative fee arrangements like flat fees to charge clients for some of their services. No matter which fee arrangement you prefer, though, explicit law firm time tracking is essential to ensure that each matter is profitable.
When time entries are erroneous, lost, forgotten, or never completed at all, it’s all but impossible to compensate attorneys fairly for their efforts. The ability to track time on the go offers two critical advantages:
1. Clients can be accurately charged for all billable hours spent on their legal matters.
2. It’s easier to know whether raising a flat fee is necessary to maintain profitability when you can confidently divide the fee by the number of hours spent working on the matter.
As an added bonus, some legal time tracking tools, such as TimeSolv, allow you to generate an invoice and bill clients automatically—assuming that your law firm’s time tracking efforts have been consistent and specific.
4. Effective legal time tracking tools improve work-life balance for attorneys
Legal careers aren’t necessarily known for offering work-life balance, but the industry is making improvements thanks to technology. Convenient legal time tracking tools can contribute to greater ease and synergy for attorneys.
Whether an attorney prefers to work on difficult projects offline for better focus or simply needs to attend an off-site meeting, the ability to track time on the go can help. Plus, time tracking software with offline capabilities makes in-demand hybrid or remote work models much more feasible for your law office.
Try TimeSolv and cut ties with Wi-Fi
TimeSolv’s robust law firm time tracking features include mobile time tracking and simple desktop syncing for Windows or Mac. With or without an internet connection, TimeSolv enables your team to make detailed time entries quickly and flexibly, which can directly improve your law firm’s billing, invoicing, and profitability.
Our TimeSync Desktop Application tracks time and expenses from anywhere and syncs to TimeSolv with a single click when Wi-Fi is available. With drop-down menus and description abbreviations that feature built-in spell check, there’s no need to add additional information to entries after syncing.
Meanwhile, TimeSolv Mobile is ideal for attorneys on the go. The app includes a built-in timer and tracks phone calls with or without an internet connection. Whether users have an iOS or Android phone, voice-to-text makes description dictation quick and simple. A list of recent clients saves you time by keeping your most frequent projects accessible.
Operational challenges due to ineffective timekeeping practices aren’t inevitable. Explore the difference that streamlined, simple legal time tracking tools can make to your team’s morale, your law firm’s productivity, and your clients’ experience.