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

Going Green: How Mother Nature Can Make Your Law Firm Successful

 

 

It’s true – mother nature can make your firm more successful.

 

Here’s how:

 

There is a theory that, by incorporating nature into your daily life, you will improve workplace performance.  The theory is tied to the hypothesis of Biophilia – an idea that suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.  According to studies, incorporating elements of nature, even through artificial means, can improve well-being significantly. It decreases stress and increases the release of dopamine in the brain.  This positive stimulation creates a sense of happiness and employees are more inclined to want to be at work.

 

So, it would seem that bringing nature into the workplace on the daily can make you and your legal staff happier and more productive workers.

 

Could you ask for anything more?

 

Also, Biophilic design contributes to a greater sense of sustainability and will push you and your employees to be ever mindful of our planet.

 

When we are connected to Mother Nature – the greatest mother of all – we care about what happens to her.

 

This will urge firms to be more renewable and embrace a system that maintains cleanliness in the office (i.e. far less paperwork to sift through) and supports our environment.

 

Examples of Biophilic design include:

 

  • Wide windows that provide plenty of natural light and a connection to the sun
  • Areas of “shade” that provide breaks from too much sunlight
  • Nature sounds, such as falling rain or wind in the trees
  • Aged wood with a noticeable patina
  • Rocks and geodes assembled in a natural formation
  • Mathematical patterns – such as fractals – in simple variations (not too overbearing)
  • Natural or artificial plants in designated areas

 

Try incorporating a few (or all) of these elements into your office and see if it improves your workflow and productivity.  At the very least, being surrounded by natural elements will provide a sense of calm and serenity as you work, which can lead to better concentration and improved cognition.

 

 

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

 

 

Witness Tips for Busy Attorneys

 

 

Do you have a hearing, deposition, or trial coming up soon?

 

Will your experts and client(s) be expected to provide testimony?

 

As an attorney, your job entails research, planning, and preparing yourself for impending proceedings, but it also includes preparing your client(s) and experts for their big day in court. It’s important to keep in mind that, often times, clients and/ or experts may not be as well-versed in legal procedure as you are. Providing guidance prior to upcoming court events is imperative to developing a winning strategy, inside and outside of the courtroom.

 

Here are a few tips Select Court Reporters has put together to help your clients and experts shine while providing testimony:

 

1. Only answer the question asked.

 

Clients and experts can and do have a habit of overexplaining, and this is something an opposing attorney will rely on to get them talking. Talking can turn into rambling, which in turn, can have a detrimental impact on the case you’ve presented. By training your clients and experts to answer only the question asked in a short and direct manner, you will avoid long-winded tirades that can (and often will) contradict your side of the story.

 

2. Speak clearly and concisely.

 

Clients and experts are often nervous during court proceedings. It’s an overwhelming experience for them and they have every right to feel uncomfortable. By developing a strategy that assists them in maintaining their composure, you invariably help them come across as more reliable and trustworthy. Witnesses who mumble and seem self-conscious can be misinterpreted by a judge or jury as shifty and dishonest. Help your clients with their enunciation, tone of voice, speech octaves, and inflection. Remind them to remain calm and to speak as clearly as possible while providing their testimony.

 

3. Dress the part.

 

This may seem like a given, but working in the industry, we’ve seen plenty of witnesses show up in less than respectable attire. Believe it or not, coaching your clients and experts to dress their best will not only help them show respect to the court, the jury, and opposing counsel, it will also provide a sense of professionalism and decorum. A person who cares about how they dress – who spends a little time selecting their outfit – sends a message to those around him / her. That message says: “I care about who I am and what I have to say.” Those that dress well simply seem more trustworthy and those who are trustworthy are more inclined to sway a judge or jury.

 

4. Be respectful.

 

Clients can get emotional and this can cause them to become volatile and irate. Remind your clients that judges notice everything. They are trained to evaluate and analyze the behavior of the people in their courtroom. Disrespect – whether intentional or not – can have a dire effect on the outcome of a particular testimony. Guide your client prior to court proceedings—give them advice and remind them that, by keeping their emotions in check, they will ultimately provide more believable testimony. The court cares about the facts, not how your client feels about the facts.

 

5. Listen to the question and take time to think about your answer.

 

This is a big one! It also goes hand in hand with numbers 2 and 4 above. Clients and experts can sometimes get riled up and confused during court proceedings. It is important that they take a moment to listen and think about questions posed before they shout out an answer. Being too quick on the draw can end badly, especially if a client or expert offers an answer to a question that was not asked. Again, this can offer support and insight to opposing counsel that may not have been there had the client and/ or expert taken a moment to understand the question. Remind them that, if the question confuses them, they are allowed to clarify what the other attorney meant. It is better that they get clear on a question than fire off a rapid response that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

 

Employing these tips will make testimony easier for your clients and experts. Moreover, spending a little time coaching them will provide a sense of relief, as well as trust. There is nothing more important in an attorney-client or attorney-expert relationship than trust. It is the backbone of your business and having it can lead to new work, new clients, and an improved reputation in the industry.

 

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to provide exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and firms in Central Florida, including but not limited to, Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs: (407) 977 – 7725 or selectcourtreporters@gmail.com.