Posted by Mark Garnish, development director at Legal Futures Associate Tikit
Achieving high time velocity is increasingly the key to law firm competitiveness.
But what exactly is it? High time velocity comprises these elements:
- The time gap between when an activity is actually worked and then subsequently recorded;
- The time gap between when an activity is worked and then submitted to the billing system; and
- The time gap between doing the work and then sending the bill to the client.
Clearly the quicker these activities take place, the sooner the firm gets cash in the door for work done. High velocity is at the heart of turning great legal performances into great business results. But there’s even more to it than that.
For one thing, any delay between an activity and it being recorded impacts both the volume of time recorded and, more importantly, the accuracy.
The fact is that all of us struggle to recall with precision what we did the more time that has elapsed since we did it. Recalling all the details of a phone call made first thing in the morning is harder at the end of the day than it was when we actually made the call. It is even harder at the end of the week.
The default position for many will be to under-record time, rather than risk a glaring error. The net result is that time gets lost, and that can make all the difference in terms of profitability.
The solution is to make time recording as easy and as intuitive as possible improving the likelihood that all billable time is recorded. Less time gets lost and more time gets billed.
If lawyers are unsure of how much time they’ve spent on a matter, they’re right to be conservative. General counsel have never subjected legal bills to more scrutiny than they are now. Inaccuracies, should they arise, can undermine a client’s confidence and trust in the firm and present opportunities for a bill to be challenged.
Conversely, being seen as transparent, accurate and able to provide detailed breakdowns to general counsel at the press of a button, reinforces a strong and lasting relationship with clients.
Firms should seek out systems that provide this capability and integrate the time recording activity with invoice generation. It increases the speed of payment, and reassures the client that you are an efficient firm.