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Red Cave Consulting Law Practice Management Tip

‘Give 'Em the Slip: It's Time to Move Off of Old School Time Slips’
Even at this late date, there are a number of law firms that continue to rely on paper-based time slips to track time.
If you’re one of those law firms, here’s why that’s bad: A paper slip can be easily lost or destroyed. Using paper slips requires a second input, into another system, or separate document, either of which operations invites the potential for error. It’s also highly inefficient: rather than adding time directly to a system that can produce invoices, there are multiple people and steps involved, which adds time unnecessarily to your already busy practice life.
There is, of course, a better way, which is to adopt an electronic-based, single-entry system for timekeeping. The question, of course, is: which system?
Well, there are a number of options, and likely any would be better than a paper-based model. Both standalone time & billing software and law practice management/case management software feature manual timekeepers, i.e. – you click a button and start and stop a timer (Double billing is prevented, because starting a second timer stops the last one – you can come back to it, though.) If you don’t use a legal-specific software, most accounting softwares feature time trackers. There are also ‘passive’ time trackers, that log your time spent on devices (these are cloud-based applications, that can track across your various devices); these softwares can be standalone tools, or may be integrated with other products. There are also available apps for capturing time entries for emails or document drafting. The upshot is: if you’ve got a need for time tracking, there’s a technology tool with an answer specific to you need.
And, if you’re aggregating time within a system through which you invoice, it’s easy to generate bills filtered for time periods, and to send bills in large batches, using basic document assembly features. You’ll also have a multitude of options for invoicing, including automating payments.
Now, this does require a mindset change for many attorneys, who, in a revised time and billing model, will enter time directly, rather than passing that obligation along to a staff person. But, with automations available, that’s a whole lot easier than it might sound.
If you’re still using paper-based time and billing mechanisms, but are willing to convert to software tools, the only real question is what you’ll do with all that extra time and money?
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If you want to convert your law firm to a niche practice, we can help!
The Rhode Island Bar Association offers free law practice management consulting services through Red Cave Law Firm Consulting. To request a consult, visit the Rhode Island Bar’s law practice management page, and start running your law firm like a business.