April 2011

We’ve all been there.  You’re on a call with your client and you ask about his favorite team, or what golf courses she’s been playing lately, or how his family is doing.  There ensues the type of social banter that is common between people and then you’re on to the substance of the call.  You finish the call, check your watch, see that you’ve been on the phone for an hour and you record your time accordingly.  Ever wonder what the social banter cost?  I know lots of clients who have. 

Now you can figure it out.  Check out this cost calculator.  It really is amazing how the cost can add up.

Hat tip to Matt Homann for bringing this to my attention.

I just received an email that made me smile.  It was from a time entry company, and promised to find all those "lost hours". 

How often do you spend 10 hours in the office and end up scratching your head because you only billed for 5 of them?

Its easy — and not uncommon — to let billable time slip through the cracks. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to not only ensure that all of your time was billed for, but that you could get back any unbilled time? Well, we have the answer!

The [ ] Assistant is a helpful tool that keeps track of everything you have done where you could have created a time entry but didn’t. That could include appointments on your calendar, completed items on your to do list, phone calls, emails, notes or documents.

The [ ] Assistant pulls together a list of all these items and allows you to quickly create time entries for them with a single click. You can even go one step further with the [ ] Saver feature — which creates time entries en masse. To save you time, all the information required for the time entry is automatically pulled from the originating item.

Just wondering if it does automatic deductions for the spur-of-the-moment clicks on Facebook, or checking out the reviews on the cool new restaurant or club, or planning a trip.  How about the phone call from your friend who wanted to cover the latest office gossip.  Those five minute calls add up.

These time entry systems, like the billable hour model itself, are designed as if time devoted to a matter can be calculated to a degree that would impress NASA engineers, as if the difference between recording 3.3 and 3.2 hours is meaningful and accurate.  Time keeping is a blunt instrument.  The precision of its presentation masks the bluntness, makes it seem more than it really is.   But companies like the one selling the time keeping software exist and succeed because lawyers persist in efforts to bill more hours.



The College of Law Practice Management has issued the following call:

If you have developed a new and better way of serving clients, a breakthrough way to find new business, or a truly innovative way to value and sell your services, you deserve the recognition of lawyers and clients worldwide by receiving a 2011 InnovAction Award. In prior years, the InnovAction Awards recognized only unprecedented initiatives, but in today’s rapidly changing environment, that criterion no longer represents the realities of law practice management. Therefore, the 2011 Awards will focus on originality of ideas and approaches, positive market disruption, value to client or industry, and effectiveness of results. For applications and more information go to www.innovactionaward.com.

Over the years, some great ideas have been recognized by the InnovAction Awards–they always get the creative juices flowing.  Best of luck to all entrants.


Why does Apple, which was once just a computer company, succeed when it branches out into MP3 players, phones and other products, while Microsoft fails?  Why do some poorly funded upstarts thrive while other better funded ones don’t?  Why do some firms "connect" with clients while others don’t?  You can get an answer in 18 minutes by listening to Simon Sinek’s Ted talk.  Or you can read Simon’s book, Start With Why.  Really powerful stuff.

Hat tip to Jay Shepherd for blogging about Simon is his recent Above the Law post.