New Lawyer Mistakes – Inadequate Timekeeping

Mistakes That Can Be Avoided

There are a number of new lawyer mistakes and pitfalls that simply work against their best interests.  Some of them could even cost you your position if you are not careful.  I’m here to help you identify the issues and common new lawyer mistakes  so you can avoid them and keep your careers moving forward in the right direction.

We’ll cover each mistake one at a time, so you can properly introduce the new necessary habits without getting overwhelmed.  The first one we will look at today relates to your timekeeping skills.

Why Timekeeping is Important

If you are a junior associate for a firm, you may not yet be required to keep time records, but the sooner you get used to accurately accounting and recording your time, the better off you will be.  Eventually in your career you will be required to do so, so start setting the proper habits now.

The process of doing so will help you to gauge how long it takes you to see any given task through to completion.  This will dovetail nicely into your ongoing efforts to efficiently manage your days and weeks so you can have a healthy work-life balance.

You will also be able to chart and track your efficiency and development.  This can come into play when it is time to negotiate a raise or demonstrate your abilities to acquire more cases.

More importantly, it will show your superior and supervising attorneys that you are indeed working diligently, and that the clients are going to be billed accurately.

The note on the accuracy of the billing is especially significant if you are an independent lawyer running your own firm.  Detailed and accurate invoices will build confidence and trust with your clients and build your positive reputation.

Tips For Keeping Good Time

Once you have set the right habit, the effort of keeping track will be painless and routinized.  So, start the habit of recording your entries as you are doing the work. Don’t wait. 

The longer you wait to make your entry, the less accurate you are going to be.  This means you either under-bill the client and shortchange yourself, or over-bill and potentially ruin your relationship and damage your reputation.  Don’t wait and make this job harder on yourself than it needs to be.

I recommend keeping a manual log book close-by where you can jot notes and times when you are busy or on the run.  Be specific about the activity so when it comes time to compute them later your accuracy is high.

Of course I would be remiss not to mention the plethora of timekeeping apps available today.  There are many to choose from so do your homework and select the best one for your needs.  From simple and free apps like Tictoc to ones that offer more services like Freshbooks, you have your pick.

Here are a couple of review sites to get you started and this one which was put together specifically for lawyers.

Closing Thoughts

I trust you see the value in accurate timekeeping and the dangers of poor recording.  The last thing you want is your supervising attorney wondering what you are doing in the office all day or worried that you might be stealing from the firm.

Accuracy in your timekeeping is your protection and is the measure of an organized and competent professional.

Thanks for joining me again and look ahead to more tips to help you avoid the common mistakes in our profession.

As always, please leave any questions or comments in the section below.

Until next time!

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