If you capture just 30 minutes more a day at a billing rate of $250 an hour you’ll add approximately $30,000 to your annual revenue. That’s a significant amount of money for just a little more time.
Record your billable time compulsively and as you go. No matter how busy you are, don’t start the next matter or respond to the phone or email until you’ve recorded your time. Since your time is a very valuable commodity; only give it away intentionally.
If you’re one of those lawyers who unconsciously reduces your time or doesn’t record some of it at all because you think it is too much time – stop doing that. Wait until you are finalizing your invoice to reduce or edit your time.
When you’re in the middle of working on a matter for your client you don’t have enough information to make a good decision about your value to the client. You need to take into account everything you did for the client and, what the value was to the client. You aren’t likely to know the value until you see the results of your efforts for the client each time you give them a bill. If you still want to discount your time show the client that you did the time but don’t charge for it. No Charge.
Tracking all your billable and non-billable time, will help you capture billable time that gets lost between telephone calls or other interruptions. Tracking everything you do will also help you become aware of how long it really takes you to do non-billable tasks. That might result in you having someone else do non-billable work so you can capture more billable work.
If you aren’t comfortable billing all the time you spend on a client matter you might want to reduce your rate to one you are comfortable charging or improve your legal knowledge and skills in the area to increase your confidence.
If you commit to accurate timekeeping as a principle of your law practice and promise to your clients then you’ll have an ethical foundation you can rely on to change any behaviors that are getting in the way of your capturing all your time.
If you do all of the above it will also help you get your invoices out more easily – you won’t have to spend time trying to recreate what you did this month or yesterday.