Over many years we have implemented and consulted for firms that have had a combination of an accounting and billing software like LexisNexis’ PCLaw with a practice management solution such as Gavel & Gown’s Amicus Attorney or LexisNexis’ Time Matters. With both types of programs having the ability to record time entries or dockets, some firms are asking the question, where should I record my time?
For scenarios where the practice areas bill their clients on an hourly basis, deciding where to put your time requires a few considerations.
- Docketing or entering time only in PCLaw. The overall experience of entering time entries or creating dockets directly in PCLaw is considered simple and intuitive by most. The electronic timesheet allows quick maneuverability with the use of keyboard tabbing and selecting shortcut keys. Entering multiple time entries for yourself and others with or without running timers is easy to accomplish. If you are required to enter time on behalf of others, the timesheet in PClaw is usually the place of choice. Furthermore, the time entered and posted directly into PCLaw is immediately ready to be reviewed on a pre-bill or included on an invoice to the client.
- Docketing or entering time entries in Time Matters or Amicus Attorney. Beyond simple time docketing there are multiple components and benefits that these programs provide so it is not hard to see why this is where most staff in each firm perform and record their daily activity. With the management of contacts, clients, matters, projects, documents, communications, calendaring, and other in types of records; workflow time tracking becomes an enticing and viable option. Whether you are generating a document, researching online, adding an appointment, sending an email or recording notes from a phone call,one click of a button will create a time entry or a docket to be added to the matter. As you work throughout your day and populate your matter brad with related information accompanied by time entries it, managing the entire matter becomes a dream. Everything is in one place and at your fingertips. In Time Matters and Amicus Attorney you also have the ability at any point to see all the activity for which there is no time entry or docket.
Additional features like combining time entries added to the same matter is a popular request that is available. Applying restrictive permissions to time entries so that they are only visible by matter or by staff or other criteria is sometimes easier to manipulate within Time Matters or Amicus Attorney. In certain cases, having either of these programs may save money by reducing the need for getting PCLaw licenses for everyone in the firm. It should be noted though that all time entries created will still need, at some point, to be transferred or sent to PCLaw, the accounting and billing program.
With all the different dynamics within the law firm, deciding where to enter time entries in some cases becomes a tricky decision. The best practice is to enter time dockets as you go through the day. Various methods to do so are available in both types of programs. The decision on which type of program should be used to enter your time entries will be different for each firm therefore we recommend meeting with your certified consultant to discuss and decide which method will add the greatest value for your firm.
- Brendon Cowans