With the COVID-19 pandemic came a surge of new and innovative digital technology to accommodate the increase in remote work. Despite having multiple legal platforms and systems at their disposal, many law firms have been hesitant to take advantage of software that automates timekeeping.
According to a recent Zero survey, about 75% of lawyers and other law firm timekeepers reported that they don’t have the automation tools needed to efficiently perform their jobs, and 80% of timekeepers said they don’t believe automation is a priority for their firms. Another 60% of timekeepers at firms that have implemented time entry and workflow automation tools said their firms underutilize this technology, often citing the need for additional internal change management resources to increase adoption.
Without automated time management software, lawyers find it challenging to accurately enter and bill their time, and run the risk of compliance failures. Unless firms are willing to fully adopt automated time tracking and billing software for lawyers, they’ll miss an opportunity to dramatically increase efficiency, credibility, and profitability.
Current and Evolving Timekeeping Challenges
Lawyers and other legal timekeepers always need to balance the needs of both their clients and firms. Unfortunately, this task is becoming more and more difficult for lawyers as lists of client mandates and business requirements continue to increase and evolve. Clients expect better transparency in terms of whether lawyers conduct matters efficiently, while firms expect to increase profitability and build new business.
Using AI-powered timekeeping software to keep on top of time entry for billable and nonbillable work can help lawyers address the needs of both parties. Clients gain more visibility into the work their lawyers perform and how much time is spent on tasks, and can better understand and quickly review incoming bills. This, in turn, will speed up the firm’s billing process, reduce write-offs, and ultimately increase firm efficiency and profitability. Lawyers will also benefit from increased visibility into the true cost of a matter, allowing the firm to more accurately price future engagements for potential clients.
However, without proper timekeeping automation, timekeepers are less likely to successfully record billable and nonbillable work. Many law firms currently struggle with lawyers who disregard client time-entry rules and repeatedly fail to promptly enter their time. Firms often lose a percentage of revenue due to write-offs caused by timekeeper violation of outside counsel guidelines (OCGs), which delays the billing cycle.
Even when lawyers do remember to enter their time, accuracy remains a challenge — especially if those lawyers don’t record the hours spent on a task immediately after performing it. In those cases, lawyers must reconstruct their timekeeping records from memory or by searching through their calendars and emails for information. This process is not only time consuming, it’s also imprecise and unreliable.
To fully meet the needs of clients and firms, lawyers need advanced legal timekeeping and billing software that helps them accurately record time, alerts them to submit their time, and ensures OCG compliance at the point of time entry. To help timekeepers achieve this, we developed Intapp Time, a cloud-based time capture solution purpose-built for professional services firms like yours.
Advancements and Advantages of Intapp Time
Legal timekeeping software like Intapp Time — part of the OnePlace Operations & Finance suite — offers lawyers and other legal timekeepers a unique and user-friendly experience to help them drive a higher degree of time entry compliance and accuracy. The software uses AI-based capture technology to automatically capture billable and nonbillable work, removing the need for time reconstruction and saving timekeepers a significant amount of effort.
Lawyers who want more control over what work is recorded can also take advantage of the system’s active capture feature. Users will receive alerts when they’ve begun working in a new application, asking them whether the system should record time spent on the previous activity. The Intapp Time mobile solution also allows timekeepers to capture their hours anytime and anywhere, and even offers AI-enabled voice dictation, providing lawyers with further flexibility and convenience.
Intapp Time also helps lawyers accurately code their time entries. In many systems, timecards list every possible field, and lawyers must figure out which fields apply to a particular client. Intapp Time, on the other hand, shows only the required fields; for example, if a particular matter is set up in the financial management system to only require task coding, then only that field will appear on the timecard. This reduces risk of human error, ensures OCG compliance, and ultimately accelerates the billing process, thereby improving profitability.
To further enforce compliance and improve your billing process, your firm can also invest in Intapp Terms, Intapp Pricing, OnePlace Risk & Compliance, or any of our other interoperable connected firm management solutions. Best of all, our cloud-based solutions are all hosted on our Intapp Secure Cloud, which offers elastic scalability and enterprise-grade security.
The Future of the Legal Market
As we enter a post-pandemic market, more and more firms are recognizing the need to invest in time tracking and billing software for lawyers. Thomson Reuters’ 2021 State of Corporate Law Departments report showed that 30% of law departments are increasing their tech spending, while the 2021 Legal Department Operations (LDO) Index revealed that 52% of the surveyed legal departments are increasing their use of legal technology, with e-billing and spend and matter management at the top of the list.
Firms will see huge revenue gains, higher profitability, and less leakage simply by using AI-enabled time tracking software to enter and bill time more consistently. However, it’s also important to realize that, as we move forward, client and business requirements are going to become more stringent, and legal operations functions will undoubtedly continue to evolve.
Some firms, for example, are exploring the idea of subscription-based pricing and offering client organizations a fixed monthly rate for services. Firms going down this path will need to update the way they track and bill time to ensure fixed prices accurately reflect the work effort. Alternatively, firms that don’t wish to offer subscription-based pricing still need to ensure they can compete with firms that do follow this trend.
Both law firms and their legal technology providers need to be able to keep up with the evolving demands of clients and the professional services industry. For this reason, Intapp is constantly innovating and improving our products. By investing in our Intapp Time cloud solution — which automatically updates — you ensure that you always have the latest functionality and features to support your timekeepers.
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