Let’s run an all-too-realistic calculation for one single day of work on a case.
You’re a darn good family lawyer who bills $250 per hour for your time. You’ve been working on a divorce case intermittently throughout the day last Monday. Your total time worked on the case (unbeknownst to you) was 5.6 hours. That means your value for that case on that day is $1,400.
At about 7PM on that Monday, as you were about to log all your time for the day thinking your memory of the time spent was pretty good, your phone rang and your son was feeling sick during basketball practice. You head straight to the garage, grab your car, and off you go to pick him up. The next day is busy with a court appearance in the morning, and the next opportunity you have to sit and record your time on the divorce case is Thursday morning. Oh, and your secretary filed the scratch paper you jotted your loose timekeeping on in her locked cabinet. Good luck!
First, you will likely undervalue what you did for the case on Monday. Most attorneys, even the most effective family law attorneys, actually justify to themselves billing fewer minutes as they try to recreate time days later. Let’s say you do pretty well on your estimates and remember 5 hours of the 5.6 actually spent. That means without even issuing a bill, you’ve already discounted, simply through miscalculation, about 11% of Monday’s work on the case.
Now let’s get to the bill.
Likely, you’ll see the entire invoice for the month and imagine your client is seeing it and have a heart attack. “I’m not worth that much and he probably won’t pay it,” you’ll say to yourself. You knock another 15% off the invoice. Now your work on Monday is down to just over $1,000 out of the $1,400 you’re rightfully owed, and the client hasn’t event peeped yet. You get the picture – extrapolate that almost $400 left on the table over months and years, and the results are staggering.
But what’s the way to avoid this mess?
Smokeball’s latest eBook, Valuing Your Time as a Family Law Attorney, covers how to better value your time as a family lawyer with the help of family law software. Stop undervaluing yourself and losing out on your only valuable commodity. The guide covers the following to improve family firm time-keeping processes:
- Problems with law firms accurately tracking time
- Automatic time-tracking tools
- How tracking time improves productivity
- And much more!
Download the eBook today, because time is of the essence!