Losing billable hours

Most attorneys know the feeling all too well. They feel constantly busy – emails, meetings, phone calls, messages and travelling. But at the end of the day when they tally up their billable hours they notice a massive discrepancy. Where did all those hours go?

A 2019 Legal Trends Report indicates that most attorneys only bill, on average, 2.5 hours per day. Whilst understandably a fair portion of time is spent on client administration, invoicing and the like, the inescapable fact and thorn in the side of management, is that attorneys are simply not recording all of their billable attendances. The problem has been exacerbated over the past 18 months due to many attorneys being left working from home, in coffee shops or on the move, without constant access to traditional fee recording software. Worse still, the nature of most attendances these days – messaging clients, short emails, mobile calls – means that traditional fee recording methods, software and hardware, are no longer appropriate for the attorney running a practice on the move in 2021. Desktop software doesn’t help when you are running a practice from your phone. Your computer can’t accurately record your mileage while you are travelling. And that outdated allocate-to-a-client phone system you have in your office doesn’t record mobile phone calls either. If, for example, a practitioner fails to record just 10 minutes of mobile calls a day with clients, this adds up to around 5 hours of billable time per month. Multiply this by your hourly rate. Multiply this by the number of attorneys in your office. You start to see the problem…


ENTER FEETRAK

FeeTrak is a state-of-the-art mobile application developed by Legal Interact – the same team that supplies leading practice management software to thousands of attorneys – which harnesses the power and tools of your mobile device to automatically record and allocate attendances to client accounts, such as mobile calls, sms messages, travel events (measured in kilometers and time taken), meetings and more. What’s more is that you no longer have to estimate distances, length of phone calls or even ad hoc attendances. Set up a client (or import a full list of clients) and you can automatically record these events with pinpoint precision and create comprehensive work in progress reports for easy inclusion in your billing cycle. Having to go through your call register to find details of that call to your client, counting sms messages or trying to estimate distances are things practitioners will no longer need to be concerned with. 

Let’s take a look at the typical day for an attorney and how FeeTrak’s features can seamlessly assist with his/her time recording. The firm’s litigator has a trial. He starts his day by getting in his car and rushing to court. On the way to court he calls the client to confirm the court room at which they will be meeting. He calls counsel and has a short discussion relating to that latest settlement offer received the night before. While in court he receives 3 short emails on his cellphone. The trial lasts 190 minutes. He scribbles down ‘3 hours’ on a piece of paper while walking out of court. He sends his client an SMS saying that they won the matter just before getting into his car again and heading back to the office. 

If we look at this litigator’s morning, it’s highly likely that the only fee that would be recorded is ‘3 hours’ attending at court. Had this litigator been using FeeTrak, and made no more than a few simple taps on his device throughout the morning, the following would have been automatically and accurately recorded, with no effort whatsoever:

  • Exact mileage and time spent travelling to court;
  • Mobile call to client; 
  • Mobile call to counsel;  
  • Emails received from client;
  • Exact duration of court proceedings;
  • Sms message to client;
  • Exact mileage and time spent travelling to office.

Not only will all of this be recorded, but once you have setup your clients (which can be done in bulk through excel upload or using your phone’s contact list) these attendances will be automatically allocated in the background, without the attorney needing to do anything at all. This information is then collated into easy to digest work in progress reports, which can be emailed directly to your secretary from the app, or downloaded in Excel or PDF format. 

Whilst there are certainly other software providers that have dabbled in this space before, what sets FeeTrak apart is its automated recording functionality (ability to track distance using GPS, native calendar appointments and call recording) and its beautiful and user-friendly interface. After scrolling through just a few tutorial screens and setting your applicable attendance rates, you will quickly see the value of the application to the modern practitioner. 

The reports produced by the application (at the touch of a button) are where the application truly shines. Imagine your candidate attorneys being able to produce travel log reports which contain exact kilometers for each and every attendance without having to guestimate and or use an odometer reading. Need a list of every mobile call you had with a client over a specific period? Not a problem. Your client questioning the length of that consultation or phone call? Generate an itemized report to prove it. There is no more guess work, estimations and fumbling over post-it notes and outdated software. And in times when attorneys need to be making every fee count, why should there be?

Whilst FeeTrak is not a full-suite practice manager (and does not intend to be one) it is most certainly a worthy addition to any billing system in this modern day and age of practicing law whilst on the move, and easily integrates with existing desktop software to plug those leaks in your practice. 

FeeTrak is available is on the PlayStore and Apple Store for as little as ZAR 165.00 ($12.00) per month. The full version (including mobile call and sms support) is available from the FeeTrak website https://feetrak.app/and is currently on opening special at just ZAR 138.00 ($9.99).  This is an absolute bargain and no-brainer for most attorneys, when considering the cost of traditional software and the extent to which the application can assist in generating previously unrecorded income. Even more inviting is that you can download it to your mobile now and try it for free for 14-days, without even taking out your credit card. 

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