Total Time Visibility: Analyze and Improve Your Firm’s Time Data with Legal Time Management Software
As client expectations increase, legal firms need to provide both clients and their own professionals more transparency and insights into their data and work effort. Firms must also find ways to better support their lawyers to help improve those metrics and provide the best possible service to their clients.
“Two of the core building blocks in legal analytics are time data and rate data,” said Vinnie Scarinci, Practice Group Leader of OnePlace Operations & Finance at Intapp. During our recent Total Time Visibility webinar, “Delivering Improved Analytics and Visibility to Lawyers and Finance,” Scarinci explained how automated legal time management software like Intapp Time can help firms accurately collect and analyze these metrics.
Replacing Solutions with Automated Time Tracking Software
Without automated time tracking software, collecting time data can be challenging for lawyers. They oftentimes rely on manual processes or extremely basic timekeeping tools to track and reconstruct billable and non-billable work, which results in lost or underreported time. Another disadvantage: basic timekeeping technology lacks any way to check whether time records comply with outside counsel guidelines (OCGs) and billing terms, increasing the risk of billing rejections and write-offs.
“A lot of firms are migrating away from legacy billing systems and replacing them with more modern solutions with features that make the time entry process a lot easier,” said David Robinson, Time Practice Lead at Aurora North. AI-based legal time management software, for example, can passively — and more accurately — capture lawyers’ work effort while also enforcing compliance at the point of time entry. This frees lawyers from tedious time-recording tasks, and speeds up the billing process by reducing write-offs.
“Why on earth would you not put a system in place that can help prevent billing rejections?” Robinson asked.
Embracing Cloud-Based Technology
Robinson also pointed out that firms are moving away from their on-premises systems to cloud-based solutions. Previously, lawyers stored time data in disparate systems, or even Microsoft Outlook calendars or Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. But with cloud-based legal time management software, firms can securely store all time data within a single source of truth, letting professionals easily find and access key information whenever they need it.
Bo Yancey, Vice President of Data Analytics at Wilson Allen, acknowledged the importance of cloud-based software to help integrate data. He stated: “Firms are investing in master data strategies to ensure that their data is clean and represents a true single source of truth on a global scale across systems, instead of having multiple versions of the same set of facts in different systems. As these integrations continue, and as the data becomes more standardized and reliable, the ability to access an accurate picture of what’s happening is going to continue to grow as well.”
Yancey explained that when firms invest in cloud-based legal time management software, they gain better visibility into metrics around clients, processes, and resources. “These metrics will help a firm understand the types of clients with whom that firm is successful; the types of activities where the firm excels; and the processes that drive positive outcomes.”
Using these metrics, leaders gain performance insights, develop better strategies, and calculate more accurate and profitable rates. However, Yancey predicts that AI-based software will soon perform these tasks on behalf of lawyers. “Things like machine learning and AI are going to make these applications smarter and able to develop insights on their own, based on data sets and behavior,” Yancey said, letting legal firms streamline their decision-making.
Investing in Intapp Time
To address the various challenges of collecting and analyzing time data, many firms are turning to Intapp Time, a cloud-based solution that uses AI to improve timekeeping accuracy and billing compliance. Like all Intapp products, Intapp Time is purpose-built for professional services firms and offers a user-friendly interface to help promote firmwide adoption.
“We want to make time as easy as possible to enter through usable dashboards or through actionable insights,” said Devin O’Leary, Practice Group Leader for Operations and Finance at Intapp. As he demonstrated Intapp Time, O’Leary revealed how the software now offers dashboards with widgets that provide key metrics — such as the types of time activities within a firm — which can be broken down by client, office, and other filters. Users can also add additional fields to be captured at the point of time entry, and surface time-related information in various ways within the Velocity dashboard.
Intapp Time also ensures compliance and helps lawyers determine whether they’re on budget for each matter. “We’re able to proactively notify users if there are any compliance issues,” O’Leary said. “This prevents downstream billing issues. Think about the power this gives a billing lawyer.”
O’Leary also demonstrated some of the more advanced features of Intapp Time. Using the Intapp Time mobile app and voice entry functionality, O’Leary was able to easily record the name of a client firm, the name of the project, and the time duration spent on that matter. “I can dictate all details about an entry, and the software parses it out into the appropriate fields,” he said. By using this functionality, lawyers can save time and record their billable work anytime, anywhere.
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