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Ten Ways to Improve Billable Hours
By Suzette Welling

1.  Create a Policy  

  • If your policy and goals are not defined, they will not be met.
  • It is important that you have support from leadership and that leadership leads by example
2.  Concurrent Timekeeping
  • Studies show time not kept concurrently results in a 30% loss of time.
  • One hour lost per day at $350/hour equals $91,000 lost annually, per attorney.
  • Concurrent = Accurate = Client Trust
3.  Use a User Friendly Time & Billing Program
  • iTimekeep, for example, syncs with more than 30 popular time and billing platforms - it allows attorneys to dictate their time through an app on their phone or Apple watch when they are out of the office (or even in the office if they wish).
4.  Shift Annual Reporting to November through October
  • If you start the annual reporting period in November, timekeepers may start their annual billing cycle in the hole v. goal during the holiday months, but that's okay. This will encourage them to focus on catching up early in the year, in January and February, when firms need productivity the most. 
  • This also allows timekeepers to do catch-up in September and October if they are behind their annual goal at year-end, instead of struggling to catch up during heavy holiday months. They will thank you for this!
5.  Give Your Attorneys a Billing Calculator
  • A billing calculator, created in a spreadsheet, helps attorneys track their year-to-date hours v. goal. This helps them to be a participant in tracking their time and having accountability for meeting their annual goal.  (For a sample billing calculator, email Suzette Welling.)
  • This prevents any misunderstandings or confusion - everyone stays on the same page as to where the attorney's YTD balance is.
6.  Require All Time To Be Entered By the End of the Day
  • Anything missing should be caught up and in the system by the end of the week at the latest.
7.  Mondays: Month-to-Date Reports to Timekeepers
  • By providing timekeepers with a calendar view of their hours, they can quickly see a snapshot of any time they may be missing.
  • If you have "problem children," you can copy your managing partner on the emailed report.
8.  Capture All Time, Including Non-Billable
  • Task codes for non-billable tasks such as business development, internal meetings, training of other personnel, etc. allow you to track how your timekeepers are using their time when not performing billable tasks and keeps them in the habit of tracking everything they are doing.
  • This also allows timekeepers to see where their time is going so that they do not become discouraged.
9.  Train Attorneys to Use Your Billing System's Timer
  • Using the automatic timer keeps time spent on a task calculated automatically and allows the timekeeper to pause during interruptions.
10. Always Track Time for Flat Fee and Contingency Matters
  • This information may be needed for fee petitions.
  • Tracking time on these matters is important, as it is the only way you can accurately analyze profitability on certain types of cases.
For a sample billing calculator and non-billable task code list, email Suzette Welling.



September 18-20, 2019
Boston, MA


October 21-23, 2019
Seattle, WA

A new benefit -  complimentary for members  - the 
 are conversations with legal management experts sharing some of their latest insights on the industry.
Each one-hour webcast includes two interviews with legal industry authors who will showcase their recently published books.
* Don't forget to support our designated charities *
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If you have suggestions for something you would like included in an upcoming newsletter, email Suzette Welling at swelling@taylorattorneys.net.