Time Is Money But How Do Lawyers Measure It

| General

Time Is Money But How Do Lawyers Measure It?

Many people assume that lawyers are rich, have nice houses, and large salaries. However, this is not the case for most lawyers. So how do lawyers justify their salaries and how do they keep track? The answer is time-recording?

Time Recording? What Is That?

In essence, time-recording is the method used by lawyers and law firms to track their work. This is so they can evidence why they are charging clients. Most firms use time-recording. Each lawyer charges clients and send a bill showing the:

  • rate charged per hour and
  • total hours worked.

For visibility purposes, lawyers need to see how a matter is proceeding and if it is moving forward.

It follows that firms specializing in legal services need to:

  • support the monies they are charging
  • give a full run-down of the work being carried out and
  • provide as full an explanation as is reasonably possible of the hours taken to complete the respective tasks.

Why Time Record?

Most law firms are not operating for the good of their health. The commercial reality is that they are businesses and exist to make a profit. In this regard in most law firms, lawyers are employed and firms have several ways to evidence why they are charging the monies they do and monitoring lawyer performance. Firms are widely known for tracking the activities of their staff in several ways:

  • key performance indications
  • billing targets
  • company policies about the tracking of time billed. In this regard, on average it is normal for lawyers to be expected to achieve at least seven to eight hours daily.
  • lawyers can also be expected to be tracked on other periods such as weekly, monthly, or annually.

How Is Time Recorded?

People generalize about time recording and are unaware of how it is done. Without time recording lawyers face the nightmare scenario of attempting to remember every bit of time spent on every task. It is enough to make the most experienced lawyer’s head spin. However, the go-to solution for firms specializing in providing legal services has for the most part attempted to resolve this situation by using three methods.

Automated Encouragement

This tool involves a reminder sent to the lawyer via email providing them with the option of recording the time for the specific task or opting not to.

Time Trackers

Some lawyers prefer to use a feature on a computer screen that assists the lawyer in keeping track of the tasks they are carrying out. Some lawyers choose this method of time recording over others as it is a very sophisticated technology that allows lawyers to use different timers, stop one-timer and make use of another one so they can prioritize a more important task.

How Can Lawyers Improve Their Time Recording?

Lawyers should avoid time recording being a piecemeal activity and having to struggle to recall the tasks they were doing in the previous days and weeks. However, all is not lost and in combination with the aforementioned techniques lawyers can use their mobile phone logs to track the

  • contact,
  • date,
  • time and
  • length of telephone calls.

They can also use calendars to keep track of the details of any meetings, tasks, and telephone call the lawyer was involved with. Another option is to use email to check the time used in real-time.

If lawyers can adopt this skill they will have stronger prospects of being ingrained into firm culture, be perceptively more productive, and will free up time for money-making activity.

The Legists Content Team


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[1] Babajide, Christianah – Time Recording: the ultimate guide – 29 June 2021 - Christianah Babajide - Time recording: the ultimate guide - LCN Says (lawcareers.net)

[2] Kainth, Indiya – What they don’t teach you in law school – time recording – 17 February 2021 - What they don’t teach you in law school – time recording - LCN Blogs (lawcareers.net)

[3] Dow, Matthew – Time Recording – 22 January 2020 - Time recording - time well spent - LCN Blogs (lawcareers.net)

[4] Legal Futures – 10 Tips for time-recording and legal timesheets – 2 September 2021- 10 tips for time-recording and legal timesheets - Legal Futures

[5] Law Society Gazette - Diary of a busy practitioner, juggling work and family somewhere in England – 18 September 2020 - Mother in law: Time recording tips | Opinion | Law Gazette



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