Right On Time: 5 Tools to Help You Manage Your Billing

 

 

For every lawyer, timekeeping is precious.

 

It is paramount.

 

It is vital.

 

It’s your basic bread and butter.

 

Without a reliable timekeeping system, lawyers and legal staff cannot accurately keep track of what they are doing for a particular client, which greatly impacts their ability to properly bill that client.

 

It’s important to use a reliable timekeeping system to help your firm track time spent on cases and projects to capture all time for billing purposes and to help you evaluate how your firm’s time is being spent and whether you feel it is being spent productively.

 

There are tons of billing and time tracking apps and systems on the market. Today, Select Court Reporters will assess 5 timekeeping applications that can help you and your employees maintain a punctual and organized system of keeping your time.

 

With that said, let’s get started:

 

 

 

1. BigTime Tracking & Invoicing

 

BigTime is a time tracking and invoicing software that allows you to manually keep track of your time as you move along. It offers the ability to keep your time on your desktop and via your mobile device through the BigTime app. BigTime integrates with Quickbooks Online and Quickbooks desktop. It allows you to set specific billing rates for each attorney and paralegal and it offers up things like direct invoicing from the website, project management, resource allocation, and expense tracking.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Manage your clients. 360-degree view of your clients & engagements. Mobile access to contacts & address books. Activity & engagement tracking. Integrated teams/budgets. Total control over who gets access to what.

 

 

Tame your workflow. Personal and firm-wide engagement tracking. Client and engagement-specific activities. Recurring engagements. Real-time workflow management.

 

 

Track and Bill WIP. Time and expense tracking. Mobile tools. One-click invoicing for T&M or fixed-fee engagements. Full suite of WIP-related reports.

 

 

Increase your entire team’s IQ. Flexible reporting. Project/engagement and staffer utilization. WIP tracking and engagement workflow. Real-time dashboards and reports. A time and billing software with your business intelligence in mind.

 

 

 

 

2. Chrometa

 

Chrometa is a timekeeping software that enables users to passively capture their time as they work, eliminating the epidemic of lost time due to memory loss. Attorneys are people and sometimes people forget to write things down. It’s a common issue for all humans. Chrometa eliminates that issue by tracking everything that you do on your computer and any device on which the Chrometa application is installed.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Automated Time Tracking: Chrometa’s automatic time trackers for Mac and PC capture your computer-based time as you work. When you work on Office documents (ex. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe, Photoshop, Outlook) or when visiting a website on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox, Chrometa’s time tracker records what you’re working on , including which application, along with other info that helps you identify the task after the fact.

 

Assign time to Clients and Projects: By setting up keyword-based rules, keyword(s), email address(es), phone number(s), etc., you can “teach” Chrometa how to create most of your Timesheet for you each day. Which means you’ll only need to do some quick cleanup and annotations, resulting in the most comprehensive and accurate timesheet you’ve ever created so that you can get paid for ALL of your time (aka hard work).

 

Create invoices: Chrometa exports your timesheet to major attorney billing and practice management systems. You can create and send invoices from within Chrometa or sync them with Quickbooks online.

 

 

 

3. TimeSolv

 

TimeSolv helps lawyers increase their billable time and get paid faster. They are the most comprehensive, yet easy-to-use cloud legal billing software, proven since 1999 with over $5.2 billion billed. TimeSolv can be used offline and online. Compatible with PCs and Macs, iPad and other tablets, iPhones and Android app, TimeSolv also helps you get paid faster with LawPay and Client Portal. They offer a 30-day free trial.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Effective Design: An elegant, user-centered design that allows you to get your work done faster and easier. Efficiency is the name of the game.

 

Mobile Friendliness: Mobile app available for iOS and Android. When you’re on the go, it’s easy to make time entries. Never miss a billable hour!

 

Customer Support: Always free. From learning TimeSolv, to migrating information, to the simplest questions, TimeSolv is always available.

 

Quickbooks Sync: Doesn’t matter if you’re using QuickBooks desktop or online versions. TimeSolv syncs bi-directionally with both, so the days of double entry are over.

 

Mac or Windows: The war is over and TimeSolv has declared both sides the winner! They’re in the cloud, so use whatever platform you’d like.

 

Stellar Hosting: State-of-the-art development platform. Amazon AWS cloud computing infrastructure. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 

4. actiTime

 

actiTIME is a solution that provides a convenient way to manage project scope, assign tasks, track time, and analyze your business performance based on the collected data.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Simple Time Tracking: actiTIME makes time tracking as simple as it can be. Record time spent on work assignments, leave comments or submit a day off in a weekly timesheet.

 

Work Scope Management: Customize you work structure, create project scope faster than ever, add details to each task, assign tasks, make use of built-in reminders, lock completed work from changes, and keep projects on task with actiTime’s user-friendly database and applications.

 

 

Reports and Data Analysis: Analyze team performance, compare estimates with actual project results, run cost and billing reports, create and edit PDF invoices, etc.

 

 

 

5. Tikit Carpe Diem

 

Tikit Carpe Diem is an easy to use, intuitive web-based timekeeping system that incorporates all the elements of timekeeping into a single solution. With exceptional functionality and ease of use, timekeeping is made easy, billing becomes timely, cash flow is improved and time is never lost as a result of clever ‘best match’ technology.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Record time anywhere anytime – truly mobile time recording: The adaptability of Carpe Diem means you can capture and manage billable time across every platform consistently, whether you’re on a train, plane, in the office, online, or offline.

 

Time recording made easy: Carpe Diem supplies a chronological view of each working day so that all billable time is all in one place.

 

Time finder technology: What makes Carpe Diem unique is its ‘Time finder’ technology. Unlike all other timekeeping solutions on the market, users are not confronted with hundreds of possible missed-time entries, simply the ones that should be recorded. ‘Time finder’ also allows users to auto-populate timesheets based on their digital footprint, or to find missing time by responding to intelligent prompts.

 

Predictive assistance and glossary: Predictive assistance auto-completes forms with predictive searches, and provides in-line spell checks, so the process of entering information is quick, easy and smooth. The powerful best match technology embeds activity data directly within the timekeeping workflow, automatically populating timesheets so you don’t start with a blank page to laboriously fill in.  The glossary feature allows you to attach shorthand terms to words or phrases you use often, so instead of having to type everything over again, simply type your shorthand and the field will be populated.

 

 

State of the art reporting: A powerful management console allows firms to effectively monitor and measure timekeeping performance and identify how much billable time is still available. Fully customizable metrics and dashboards supply actionable management information at the press of a button.

 

Fully compliant: Integrated e-billing and ethical wall validation improve compliance, reduce risk and improve cash flow. Finance teams can track and reduce the lag between activity, time-capture, billing, and cash. This functionality also means firms can quickly generate real-time billing reports that give clients more confidence in the firm and enrich the client relationships.

 

 

With so many different billing applications on the market in 2018, we know it can be overwhelming to sift through all of them, especially when hopping from page to page on the Internet. That’s why Select wanted to provide you with a short, comprehensive list of some of the more well-known and widely used systems to eliminate time wasted on sites that may not suit you or your firm.

 

After all, time is money!

 

Wishing you the best of luck with your time keeping this year and the beyond!

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters is an Orlando court reporting firm providing exemplary services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida. If you are looking for a Winter Springs court reporter, an Oviedo court reporter, a Winter Park court reporter, a Maitland court reporter, or if you need Orlando court reporting services, Apopka court reporting services, Altamonte Springs court reporting services, or Kissimmee court reporting services, Select has both the experience and the availability to meet your needs. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you.

 

Contact us today to discuss how we can help!

 

Phone: (407) 977 – 7725

 

Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

 

“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

Let Loose This Summer!

 

 

 

Attorneys work hard.

 

 

This is an incontrovertible truth.

 

 

If you happen to be one of those hardworking attorneys, it’s important that you take time to play hard as well. Striking balance between work and play can be difficult. It takes courage and a willingness to say “no” when the occasion calls. For instance, if you cannot handle taking on yet another case, it’s time to get real with your colleagues and let them know you’re overloaded.

 

 

An excellent attorney becomes only a “good” attorney when stretched too thin.

 

 

You want to maintain your status of excellence, so you need to be aware of what you can and cannot handle.

 

 

The main point here is: you are not a robot and you should not be treated as one.

 

 

That said, making sure that you let loose every now and then can be a healthy way to keep your excellence in check, and one of the best ways to do that is to take your vacation time.

 

 

There have been a number of studies backing up this idea. Vacation is considered by some researchers to be “recovery from work” – a vital period wherein we, as humans, take time to let our brains heal from constant overthinking and overstimulation. One study found that “repeated or prolonged physiological activation may disturb an organism’s precarious homeostatic (sympathetic – parasympathetic) balance which will manifest in chronic overactivity or inactivity of crucial bodily systems (e.g., the immune system).”

 

 

What does that mean?

 

 

No vacation = overactive immunity.

 

 

This is likely due to prolonged and chronic periods of stress without restful escape.

 

 

Another study by Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace reported that “active” leisure pursuits (such as golf!) and vacations helped buffer or decrease job stress among a sample of approximately 900 lawyers. Moreover, British researcher, Scott McCabe, has stated that vacations’ “personal benefits have been found to include: rest and recuperation from work; provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication; promotion of peace and understanding; personal and social development; visiting friends and relatives; religious pilgrimage and health; and, subjective well-being”.

 

 

So, the next time you’re thinking about chucking the vacay for another 60 hours in the office, you might want to rethink that decision. After all, a well-rested, re-energized attorney is much better than a brain-dead, overly fatigued attorney.

 

 

Now close this article and go schedule your vacation, my friend!

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to work with attorneys throughout Central Florida. We provide exemplary legal support to law firms in Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, Winter Garden, Clermont, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs. Phone: (407) 977 – 7725 Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

Keep Your Firm Top of Mind

 

Having a legal newsletter is a great way to keep your firm top of mind.

 

To be “top of mind” means that you and your firm remain fresh in your clients’ minds.  This is a good place to be, especially if a matter arises and your clients find they need legal assistance.  After all, if you’re at the top of your clients’ minds when something bad happens, you’ll likely be the first one they call to find a solution.

 

But how do you keep your firm top of mind without being annoying or spammy?

 

A good way to be memorable without coming off as salesy or pushy is to provide recurrent advice that will benefit your client.  This advice should always be geared towards helping them and should never come off as a pitch for business.  You want to be viewed as a skillful and practiced attorney with vast knowledge but also a caring individual who wants to do right by his/ her client.  This positive position will help convince your client that you are the right one to call when they need help down the road.

 

So what kind of advice can you provide that will benefit your client?

 

Select Court Reporters has a few ideas to help you drum up content that will not only help a client out, but also provide intelligence at appropriate times throughout the year:

 

January – March: 

 

 

  • Send your client reminders to start cleaning up their financials for tax season. Even if you’re not a tax attorney, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide them with a reminder.  You can also take the opportunity to refer them to a competent CPA.

 

  • Send your client a reminder to file their annual or periodic reports! Every year, states require businesses to file an annual or periodic report to remain registered with their Division of Corporations. Providing a gentle reminder to your client will help them keep their company in good standing and help you remain in their good graces.

 

 

April – June:

 

 

  • This is a time of year generally associated with rainy days. Sending your client information on water intrusion hazards and how to remedy defective construction is a great way to provide advice and information ahead of time so they know how to react should a similar issue arise.

 

 

July – September:

 

 

  • It’s summertime! That means your clients will likely be headed out of town on vacation.  Providing them with information regarding personal injury (in the event of an unforeseen accident) or even travel insurance can help them stay ahead of the game and take care of any necessities prior to travel.

 

 

October – December:

 

 

  • Holiday time is a great time to provide information on consumer protection. People do a lot of shopping at this time of year.  Cautioning your clients to take care of their credit – and their credit cards – is not only practical advice, it’s vital to helping them keep their accounts safe and their identity concealed.

 

 

Being known as a helpful attorney is great…but being labeled a reliable attorney who goes above and beyond for his/ her clients is supreme.  Providing beneficial advice via your legal newsletters is a professional and personable way to take care of clients.  It also seals your reputation as a go-to lawyer with a giving nature.

 

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to work with attorneys throughout Central Florida. We provide exemplary legal support to law firms in Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, Winter Garden, Clermont, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs. Phone: (407) 977 – 7725 Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

 Case in Point: Vetting Your Expert(s)

 

In the Land of Law, there are a number of things considered integral to the management of a successful lawsuit. Calendaring is certainly at the top, as is a healthy understanding of statutes, caselaw, and the rules of procedure. Another important item is strategy—one cannot build a proper claim or defense without it. Yet, of all the items on the list, the most important is by far the discovery of evidence. There can be no strategy without the evidence to support it, nor can there be an application of caselaw or statute, or even a case to procedurally manage, for that matter. A successful lawsuit consists of facts and evidence to support them. A large part of discovering and maintaining proper evidence requires building relationships with reputable individuals who hold expertise in certain industries and areas.

 

These are your experts.

 

By definition, an expert (or expert witnesses) is a “party that gives their expert evidence”. This evidence is usually testimony related to a professional or scientific subject based on training and experience in the subject area. The expert will give their opinion to aid the court in a decision or judgment.

 

An expert can make or break a case, especially if the facts rely on expert evidence and opinion to uphold the claims and defenses made.

 

Properly vetting your expert is vital to providing evidence and testimony that the court can rely on. You want to be assured that the opinion your expert gives can be backed up by thorough knowledge and investigation. Recruiting a respectable expert witness who “knows their stuff” will not only provide a sense of security, it will also help you build a relationship that will continue to hand over successes, case after case, lawsuit after lawsuit.

 

An expert can be a very lucrative business contact.

 

If you consistently use an expert, you create a rapport. That connection can lead to referrals, networking junkets, and even reduced expert rates. Finding an expert valued in their field can open doors to creating other worthwhile business associations.

 

 

So, how do you find the right (and REAL) expert?? Select Court Reporters has a few tips for vetting your next case’s “Whiz Kid”:

 

  • Do your research! If you get the name of an expert, be sure to Google them. Look into their LinkedIn connections, check out their social media accounts, and search for them in correlation with scientific articles, lawsuits, or other educational documents they may have published or contributed to

 

  • Ask for their curriculum vitae. Having a document that lists out their credentials can help you thoroughly vet them. Think of it as a check list—start with the first item and work your way down.

 

  • Ask them for copies of any scientific or educational articles they may have written, including any public case assessments.

 

  • Cross-reference their rates. While you do have to “pay to play” you shouldn’t have to pay out the nose. If your prospective expert is charging more than other individuals in his or her field with similar experience, consider moving on.

 

  • Ask around about them. Peer reviews can be just as beneficial as experience on paper. Listen to what your colleagues have to say about them, review their overall case successes, etc.

 

When you take the time to discover your best expert today, you will inevitably build a better case tomorrow. And the next day, and the next, and so on…


Select Court Reporters is an expert in its field! We are proud to serve attorneys and firms in Central Florida, including but not limited to, Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, etc., and look forward to providing exemplary court reporting services to attorneys in need! Contact us today to discuss your priorities. We’d be happy to provide additional information so you can properly “vet” our excellence.

 

 

 

Hate In-Person Networking? Try an Online Networking Event Instead…

There’s no doubt about it—we all have something amazing to share with the world. Yet, some of us suffer from crippling shyness and introversion, two traits that don’t exactly cater to the business philosophy of “see and be seen”.

 

While it’s true that the business (and legal) world pushes entrepreneurs and law firm partners to let go of inhibitions and step into the limelight, the utilization of this method does not necessarily have to be one size fits all. We can use the idea of networking and apply it to many different scenarios, those that serve the introvert and capitalize on its talents.

 

Because, let’s be honest, introverts have got it going on!

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, extraverts are awesome, too, but healthy introverts have a way of seeking depth in situations—even those that do not suit them. Extraverts are less concerned about introspection. They’d rather be out doing as opposed to sitting at home with a cup of tea, pondering the world at large. Both types of people are creative, fun, and focused, they just operate in different ways. Where extraverts are inventive by way of outside social connections, introverts discover innovation through a deep connection to self, and it is this very trait that can be used to network business online.

 

If you are an introvert, you may understand what I mean. We are very attuned to our feelings, our likes, our dislikes, etc. We take time to gestate and consider, to analyze and create. We are both architects and contractors. We like to connect with an idea at the cellular level and watch it evolve into something really spectacular. By focusing on this truth, we can drum up ideas, provide services, and promote movements that are long-standing and meaningful. Most introverts are not interested in passing trends. Like an Amish carpenter, they want to make something that will survive the passage of time. Introverted business owners and attorneys may capitalize on trending topics to fuel awareness about their services and products, but their overall purpose is always meant to last.

One passing trend an introvert can benefit from is the online marketing event.

 

These events are virtual. You can host them on the Internet and promote them via your website, social media, etc. A good online networking event will draw people together on a virtual plane and encourage them to engage. It will always have a deep focus—whatever that long-lasting, meaningful thing you’re promoting might be—and it will stir people to take action without you even having to be there, pushing and prodding in person. It’s also a good way to wade into the networking waters as opposed to diving in head first, which is something many introverts deem terrifying…

 

What kind of networking event could you host to bring people together and educate them about your product or service? Where would you promote it? How would you use it to push people to action?

 

Take time to think about it (we all know you’re good at that).
Then start planning!
Make a point to host your own online event this year to create responsiveness to your brand, your firm, or your cause!

 

Select Court Reporters provides exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida, including but not limited to Winter Springs, Oviedo, Winter Park, Maitland, Orlando, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, and Kissimmee. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you. Contact us today to discuss your needs.
Phone: (407) 977 – 7725
Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com
“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

 

 

Reflecting on Your Firm or Business Losses Can Turn Them Into Wins…

 

As you embark on 2018, it’s important to look back and reflect on the past year to see what you have learned, what has worked for you and your business, and perhaps more importantly, what has not. Outlining your successes and your failures can be a very rewarding experience. It can contribute to growth and help you streamline parts of your business that may need a little fine-tuning. While looking into the face of your failures can be a bit daunting, it is a necessary exercise if you expect to improve your firm or business’ bottom line. Think of it as going to the doctor: if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness, you cannot possibly get better if you do not have an examination to diagnose the problem. Knowing what needs to be treated is essential to “curing” your firm and business’ disorders.

 

Here are a few tips on how you can get it done:

 

1.   Meet & Conquer. 

Set a date and time to sit down with your staff to work through some of your losses over the last year. Make a note of items that contributed to those losses. Did you have trouble with research? Was communication poor? How about overall strategy? Identify the trouble areas for each loss and make a list of the things that need improvement.

 

2.   Identify Solutions.

Once you have figured out the issues that contributed to your losses, take time to brainstorm solutions. Identify ways that can help you avoid those problems next go round. Be sure to ask for your staff’s input—they are usually the ones working on tasks within a case or project, so it’s important to get their feedback to determine whether solutions will actually work when it comes time to implement them.

 

3.   Set up a Strategy.

Once you and your staff have agreed on solutions, it’s time to map out a strategy to implement them in your daily work life. Our suggestion: put together a policies manual for you and your employees to refer back to until the new strategy becomes a routine. That way you won’t find yourself slipping back into old habits and experiencing the same losses.

 

4.   Celebrate Your Wins.

Whenever you experience wins due to your new solutions and strategies, celebrate them! The more you celebrate and express gratitude for your work and the work of your staff, the more you will feel inclined to continue new strategies and to seek out solutions whenever problems arise. A simple shift in perspective can make all the difference, so be sure to pat yourself on the back as often as you can!

 

“If you don’t celebrate success, it won’t celebrate you.”

Julian Hall

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Select Court Reporters proudly serves the Central Florida legal community. If you are located in Seminole, Orange, Osceola, or even Volusia county, we are primed and ready to provide you with reliable court reporters to support you and your firm. Contact us today to discuss your needs.