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How to Maximize Billable Hours for Attorneys

Noel Peel

Written by

Noel Peel


March 1, 2018


Improve Your Law Firm’s Billable Hours

The billable hour for Attorneys is like gold nuggets, even a little of it can be worth a significant amount of money. That’s why maximizing every billable hour is an important part of contributing to a law firm’s bottom-line and getting paid for all of the work you do. Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to maximize your billable hours.

Don’t Shortchange Yourself

No matter how small of a task you do for a client and no matter how little time you spend on that task, you must bill for it.   If you take a phone call that lasts 5 minutes, don’t downplay the value of those minutes.  Five minutes a day over the course of a few months can add up to hours of billable time.  Once you make that 5 minute call or complete that 6 minute task, add it to your billable hours.

Provide Clear Descriptions

When recording your billable time, don’t use vague descriptions.  Vague descriptions encourage clients to dispute your invoice. The client may see a vague description for a 10 minute task, and they may decide that you’re attempting to deceive them and get more money that you deserve. To reduce the amount of billing disputes, try to be as descriptive and specific as possible in your descriptions. For example, saying “spoke to client about the legal process for next Tuesday” is a lot more descriptive than “spoke to client on the phone.”

Automate Administrative Tasks

If you’re an attorney who spends a significant amount of time on administrative tasks such as filing or answering phone calls that you can’t bill for, you are wasting money.  Even if you can’t afford to hire administrative staff, automating some tasks will help free up the time you need to dedicate to billable tasks.  Voicemail, email, and auto-responders are some of the easiest ways to automate some administrative tasks.  Voicemail can answer noncritical calls while email and auto-responders can be setup to send messages that automatically answer FAQs without you having to answer common questions for each individual client. See how Smokeball can help with Administrative tasks.

Never Micromanage

If you decide to hire administrative staff, DO NOT micromanage their work.  Remember, paralegal and legal secretaries are professionals—they know how to do their job. If you attempt to control every aspect of how they do their job, you are spending time away from your billable tasks and possibly creating more work for employees that you’re paying for their expertise.

Stay Focused

It really does matter if you get distracted when you’re really supposed to be billing client work.  The minutes that you spend on social media or watching funny videos or looking at memes can add up to hundreds of lost hours over the course of years.  That’s money left on the table. If you want to maximize your billable hours, you must remain focused during the workday and commit to completing client tasks that will generate much needed revenue.

Maximizing your billable hours is a key ingredient to maximizing your law firm’s profits.

Looking for a better way to capture your hours? See how Smokeball’s Automatic Time Tracking feature will help you never time record again, whether flat fee, contingency or hourly.

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