Most lawyers hate filling out timesheets to record their billable time. Lawyers are also not perfect at accomplishing this, leading every company with a time and billing product to tout how much money can be made if only every bit of “lost” time was recorded. But the practice of recording time by hand on paper timesheets really does need to go the way of the Dodo bird.
Your attention is directed to my Oklahoma Bar Journal column, Those Timesheets, Those Hated Timesheets: Are You Still Using Them?, where I wrote:
“[T]here’s one observation that I can make today with a great deal of certainty. A lawyer entering their time by using pen and ink on a paper timesheet is employing an inefficient practice that should no longer be used. You need to enter your time digitally. This means you.”
There are a number of reasons for this, but two major ones are 1) that lawyers need to invest the time to digitally enter their time records so they are relieved from later spending some much time proofing billing and 2) in today’s working environment, lawyers need to be able to enter their billable time from any remote location by using their smart phones or tablets. I then go through several examples of how the companies involved with our Practice Management Shootout at the OK BAR all allow for remote time entry. I also link to a blog post by Brian Focht discussing other stand-alone time keeping apps.
If you are still entering your time by hand on paper, you really need to read this column. Changing a deeply ingrained habit won’t be easy, but I firmly believe this will result in freeing up staff time, lawyer time and producing a higher-quality bill for the client.