Alan has held various roles in the legal software space for over 15 years before co-founding Devlos Software. Most...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law firm management,...
All lawyers want to get paid but keeping track of billable hours can be a challenge for solo and small firm lawyers. Inevitably, some hours may through the cracks resulting in a loss of potential money. In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, host Christopher Anderson talks to Alan Tuback about techniques and tools that can help lawyers keep track of their billable hours. They also discuss using practice management software to track time and other easy-to-implement software solutions for an overall efficient firm.
Alan Tuback has held various roles in the legal software space for over 15 years before co-founding Devlos Software.
The Un-Billable Hour
A Minute Saved is a Minute Earned
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients, and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. This is where you will get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson, here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher T. Anderson: Welcome to The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast helping attorneys achieve more success. We are glad you can listen today on the Legal Talk Network.
Today’s episode is about systems, really about physical plan, but it’s also about money and metrics too. To be specific, it’s about plugging the time equals money leaks in your law firm business. The title today is A Minute Saved is a Minute Earned and my guest is Alan Tuback.
Alan is the Co-Founder at Devlos Software and also the creator of Soluno, a law firm accounting and billing software and of course, I am your host Christopher Anderson.
I am an attorney with the singular passion for helping other lawyers be more successful with their law firm businesses. I am dedicated to helping lawyers across the country to achieve success as they define it.
In the Un-Billable Hour every month we explore an area important to help you grow your revenues, get back more of your time and/or get more professional satisfaction from your business.
The Un-Billable Hour is dedicated to helping lawyers achieve freedom through their businesses and our guests help you learn more about how to make your law firm business work for you, instead of the other way around.
Before we get started, I do want to say a thank you to our sponsors; Answer1, Solo Practice University, Scorpion and LAWCLERK.
Answer1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering services provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800-answer1, or online at www.answer1.com.
Solo Practice University is a great resource for solos, no matter how long you have been practicing. Make sure you check out solopracticeuniversity.com and learn how to run your practice better.
Scorpion crushes the standard for law firm online marketing with proven campaign strategies to get attorneys better cases from the Internet. Partner with Scorpion to get an award-winning website and ROI positive marketing programs today. Visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast.
LAWCLERK, where attorneys hire freelance lawyers. There are no sign up or monthly fees. Only pay the flat fee price you set. Increase your profits, not your overhead. Learn more at www.lawclerk.legal.
And again, today’s episode of The Un-Billable Hour is A Minute Saved is a Minute Earned and my guest today is Alan Tuback.
Alan has been working with lawyers literally for decades regarding issues of time, billing, accounting, practice management and he has seen the good, the bad and quite honestly, the ugly and has much wisdom to help law firms do much more with the resources that they have, but let me let him tell his story.
So Alan, welcome to The Un-Billable Hour.
Alan Tuback: Hi Chris. Well, thank you very much for having me on the show. You have a great podcast.
Christopher T. Anderson: Well, thank you. First of all, as is my tradition, my introduction was awful and too brief, so if you don’t mind telling the listeners a little bit about your background and most importantly your new venture.
Alan Tuback: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. So a little bit about me; I am one of the Co-Founders of Devlos Software. Our company was founded in 2014. We are the developers of Soluno, which is a modern web-based legal time, billing and accounting solution.
What is unique about Soluno is that law firms now have the choice of cloud access or local access within their own law firms. It is the same program no matter what their deployment method is. This makes it super easy for law firms to migrate either to the cloud, back to premise, or back up to the cloud whenever they are ready.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. Thank you Alan. And so what we are going to talk about today, we were thinking about how to help the listeners of The Un-Billable Hour and one thing we wanted to talk about was six ways, really hacks, to eliminate time leakage and increase law firm revenues.
So before we get into what the six hacks are, let me just ask you to speak a little bit about what you mean by time leakage. Where is time leaking in law firms and why is that a problem?
Alan Tuback: I have spent the past 20 years in legal technology and one of the key areas that always comes up when talking to attorneys is how do I track as much billable time as possible, and the reason why this comes up is that there is a direct correlation to billable time versus increased revenue.
I then studied how the attorneys work directly tracking their time on a daily basis and started focusing on how to eliminate any sort of leakages that might occur. So your question related to time leakage means time that has not been recorded where attorneys have actually worked.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right, and so like attorneys — it just was funny, I was just at Lawyernomics and Jack Newton spoke from Clio and laid out some metrics that they had found at Clio which indicated that lawyers are recording something — like single shareholder law firms or small law firm lawyers are recording something ridiculous, like 2.3 hours out of their day is actually making it into the recording, which means if they are spending eight hours, so we know that typically they are actually spending more, that 5.7, almost 6 hours a day and probably more is being lost. Is that what we are talking about as leakage because that almost sounds like a flood?
Alan Tuback: Correct, yes. It really depends on how the lawyers actually work, but that’s what I have seen over my history is that a lot of the times lawyers or attorneys will do the work, they are on autopilot when they do the work but then don’t track time as it occurs. So then they have to then sit and think well, where did I spend my last eight hours and a lot of it is just guesswork. So as you know, within guesswork becomes — you actually lose time because you do not guess 100% of the time.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. Also, I mean I think there are probably some ethical issues with billing people for your guess. I think actually most lawyers, as we can tell by the numbers, actually are guessing too little, but also just guessing too much.
But yeah, so this time leakage is they are working and they are not getting all the time recorded and obviously this is showing up, and if they don’t bill it, clients don’t often say, you know, you billed me too little so I am just going to send you some extra money to make you feel better.
So this time leakage is actually becoming revenue leakage, is becoming lawyers working harder for less. And so the hacks that we are talking about then that I want you to talk to the audience about, the listeners is how they can make it better.
So as you said, you have been studying this for 20 years, you have seen that it’s true and that lawyers are losing time. How can they make it better? Let’s start with the first one, what’s one of the first things that they can do to get the leakage to slow down?
Alan Tuback: Okay, let’s start with the ones most obvious. There are several techniques that attorneys can employ to help maximize tracking time. For starters, it really comes down to their practice management system that is in place. Obviously that’s the first and most obvious place to start with.
So from there, depending on the practice management system, do they have direct access to it, while they are in the office, out of the office, on the go? But if there’s one tool that can track as much time as possible, that’s the place to be.
So can you track it on a mobile device, while you are in the office on your laptop or Mac? What happens when you are out of the office? When you are in the office, can you have multiple timers running? Are you forced to use a single time entry or can you have multiple timers running on one sheet, time sheet, so you can actually see your time accumulation?
The purpose is that you have this application, this practice management system that helps you guide your day, so as you start a task, you can start the timer or start recording how much time you are spending on that particular task. At the end of the day, you should have a listing of all the time that you had possibly captured using this practice management system.
Christopher T. Anderson: First of all, I want to break this down. The first suggestion is have a practice management system. So with a practice management system, you are talking about some system that is capable of tracking time and quite honestly probably other things, but most importantly tracking time.
Alan Tuback: Correct, yes.
Christopher T. Anderson: So that’s like the first half. And then it sounds like what the second part of that hack though is that, the really important thing is to do it contemporaneously, to be actually tracking the time as it happens.
Alan Tuback: Yeah. And that’s more of a discipline, absolutely.
Christopher T. Anderson: It is and it’s a habit and I think a lot of lawyers are in it, but a lot more lawyers are not in it.
So what do you suggest, I mean you talked about track time as it happens directly into your time and billing, you talked about mobile device, you talked about laptop, out of the office, what’s a good way for a lawyer to get started in this habit and to make sure that they are doing it wherever they are? How would you like suggest that a lawyer gets started in the habit of tracking time contemporaneously?
Alan Tuback: That all depends on the system that they are using, but one of the first places I would do, and what I have seen is that you have to train yourself as form of habit and probably the easiest way is that if the system has a timer, that’s your first instinct, you know you are about to start something, maybe you are drafting a document or reviewing an email, one of the first things you should do prior to even starting that task is starting your timer.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right, so yeah, actually just getting in the habit of just starting the timer.
Alan Tuback: That’s it. It’s coming down to pure basics, just start the timer; when you have done your task, stop the timer, enter your task.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. Let’s move on to this, so the first hack is really just do it contemporaneously, however you can, get a timer started somewhere, somehow; practice management software would be the best.
I know though, as you probably do as well, that attorneys don’t always like to work with the particular system or outside of what they are using it, the separate tool, what are some of the things that an attorney like me or another attorney can do to capture billable time without having to use the separate system? What could they do to stop time leakage using the tools that they are already used to using day in and day out?
Alan Tuback: Yeah. So on that note, the best place would be to capture any sort of time within a day-to-day operation of an attorney. One of the biggest challenges that I have seen in my history of practice management is that taking the attorney out of their day-to-day working.
So as you know, attorneys are either reviewing emails, doing online research or drafting documents, anything with sort of content, so one of the worst things that you can ask is an attorney to do what they do but then go to another system to try and enter their time.
So one of the best options would be to have timers in their word processing products, like Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word, have timers built into the email system that automatically track time as they are drafting that email or drafting that document or in calendaring. If you are a calendar-based lawyer or attorney, you have your schedule already set out there, your time is already recorded.
So the ability to have your time at post directly from your calendar appointments, that way you are not taking the lawyer out of their own environment. The key would be then to take that information and have that populate your practice management system, which eventually leads to billing, because that’s where your source of revenue comes from. You are essentially capturing time as it occurs, even through calendaring, document generation, email generation or even online research through a web browser.
Christopher T. Anderson: And I don’t want to get totally geeky here, but how do — if I am used to using these tools and since you are developing Soluno, like how would that work to make sure that my software; Word, Office 365, etc, can talk to my time and billing software, how do I make that happen?
Alan Tuback: Well, the first place to start is talking to the vendors. So if you have your practice management system, speak to the vendors, see if they have a plug-in for Office in one of the Office tools, the calendaring or contact management, see if there is an integration with Office 365, if you are using Office 365 as your mail and calendaring program. But just ask, speak to consultants, they will also have recommendations for other products that might bolt on to say Word or Outlook.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. All right, I am talking with Alan Tuback. He is the Co-Founder of Devlos Software and the Founder of the Soluno, accounting and billing software for law firms and we are talking about hacks to help lawyers in law firms stop the leakage of time.
We are going to take a break here to hear from our sponsors and when we come back, we are going to hear about the last four hacks on how to stop the leakage of time and we will be back in just a moment.
Advertiser: LAWCLERK is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Whether you need a first year to perform legal research or a seasoned attorney to assist with a complicated appellate brief, LAWCLERK has hundreds of freelance lawyers with every level of experience and expertise. There are no sign up or monthly fees, only pay the flat fee price you set. Increase your profits, not your overhead. Learn more at www.lawclerk.legal.
Is your firm experiencing missed calls, empty voicemail boxes and potential clients you will never hear from again, enter Answer 1, Virtual Receptionists. They are more than just an answering service. Answer 1 is available 24×7. They can even schedule appointments, respond to emails, integrate with Clio, and much more. Answer 1 helps make sure your clients have the experience they deserve. Give them a call at 1-800-answer1 or visit them at answer1.com/podcast for a special offer. That’s answer1.com/podcast.
Christopher T. Anderson: And we are back with Alan Tuback. Alan, again is the Founder of Devlos Software and the Founder also of the Soluno, accounting and billing software for law firms.
We are talking about hacks to stop the leakage of time in lawyers and law firms. We learned in the first segment about the fact that according to Clio that 2.3 hours is all that lawyers are accounting for in small law firms per day.
Back when I was with LexisNexis, we did a different survey and found that lawyers were losing about 40% of their actual billable time outside their marketing time per day.
Whatever the number is, it’s way too big and Alan’s got some great ideas on how to hack your day to make sure that you are capturing a lot more of your time.
Before we left, we talked about making sure we are doing it contemporaneously and we also talked about just making sure we are using the tools that we use everyday, as at least a habit builder before trying to switch to doing it in a separate system, just to make sure, because the most important thing is to get it tracked. The second most important thing is where that happens and the easiest part is to do it in the tools we use everyday.
So Alan, I wanted to move now into the third hack that before this show you and I talked about, where you were talking about doing it on using mobile devices as a way to get this done. What can you suggest about that?
Alan Tuback: So being connected constantly is a fact of life today. It’s changed the way we work, it’s changed the way attorneys work. Mobiles phones are our life, our primary source of communications, news and business tools.
This is no different for attorneys and how they connect, so tracking time while they are out of the office is probably one of the most important elements of this. The ability to track time while you are out of the office on your mobile device, you could be in an Uber with an LTE connection on your iPad, do you have the ability to track your time directly in the system of choice, whether it’s your practice management system or through Outlook or Word.
So tracking time on your mobile phone; when you are out of the office you could be disconnected from the office, but have an Internet connection, how can you get your time directly even to your practice management system or through some of the Word tools pushing that into your system.
So being on the go, having that mobile connection, the ability to track time while you are out on the go should be no different from when you are in the office.
Christopher T. Anderson: Great. And then again, do you have any — like what particular tools that would work to record time on-the-go, is it just the tools we use or how can we use our mobile device? I am holding my iPhone in my hand right now, how could I be recording the time that I am spending recording this radio show for instance, how would I do that?
Alan Tuback: Well, there is more of a direct connection to the system of choice, your practice management system, so whether you have a timer running in the mobile app or even directly into your practice management system, that could be one way.
There are other areas that you can sort of track time, more of a passive nature, but we will talk about that in the next segment because that’s a big up-and-coming area where we should explore.
Christopher T. Anderson: Okay. Well, fantastic, so let’s go there. I mean as we are suggesting, there’s tons of apps, there’s tons of tools, if you go on the Internet and search for time tools or tools to use to be more efficient with the mobile devices, I mean there is just so many, it could be really daunting.
Is there a simple solution that lawyers can adopt and use where they don’t have to start and stop timers just to go about their day? You said — like the segue here was that you talked about passive time capture, is there something that could just be going on in the background that can help us get this task done more efficiently and a little bit more effortlessly?
Alan Tuback: Yeah, and the keyword is effortlessly. There is a new generation of software that’s emerging. Many law firms and attorneys are beginning to turn to them and these are passive timekeeping softwares that’s installed on either your mobile device or your desktop or MacBook, you name it.
The importance of passive timekeeping solution is a growing one. These are products that are simply installed on your device and they just sit and monitor what you do and they track what you do during the day, see how many tasks you perform, can track how much time you edit in a Word document, for instance, or drafting an email, even going online and doing research.
Some solutions will even record time when you are away from your computer so you can see your downtime. You can even have it installed on your mobile device. If you get a call from one of your clients at the end of the call say do you want to track this time that you spent against the client? The differentiator there is that you don’t have to reconstitute your day; it just does what it needs to do.
The key there is the portal that the attorney can log into and once they log into that portal they will be able to see all their time that just organically has been collected.
You are almost guaranteed 100% accuracy of your time as well as increased revenue. The key is how can your practice management system integrate with these passive timekeeping systems, because one of the things you want to eliminate is having to enter a file or a matter into your practice management system and then manually entering it into this passive timekeeping system.
So you do want to look for a direct integration so your practice management system is pushing that information, so files are automatically being added and when you get asked, what is this task for, you have your list.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right. We will talk about integration here coming up after the break, but what you are talking about is there’s some tools that can actually exist on your devices, whether your mobile device or your desktop that kind of keep track of everything that you have been doing.
Like your example was you got a phone call, it recognizes well, this is somebody that’s involved with the matter, do you want to record this time. You just were working on an email, you were just working on a Word document, you were just working on a Game of Words with friends, which was surely billable, Whatever you were doing.
But at the end of the day it sounds like what you are telling me is like these devices can say, hey buddy, here’s what you did all day. A lot of this is probably billable and really help you to stop from losing a lot of that time, since we literally can’t do very much of our day at all without engaging with one of our devices.
Alan Tuback: Yeah, that is correct. It literally takes the guesswork out of what did I do spending my day that day and it reconstitutes your day for you with as little effort — it’s truly an effortless experience.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. And I have got to tell you, I mean as an attorney who has practiced many years and even in business after that, and I am sure this has happened to you, you get to the end of a day and sometimes you do, you just sit there going like it is 6 o’clock —
Alan Tuback: What did I do?
Christopher T. Anderson: What in the hell did I do today? And this is the answer to that question and that sounds like it could probably really help to avoid a lot of leakage.
Alan Tuback: And there are a number of solutions out there, you just need to search for passive timekeeping solutions and you will get a whole list of them; some of them are very popular in the legal industry.
Well, a couple that come to mind are Chrometa, Toggl, ITimeKeep are some of the ones I have come across.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. Thank you. All right. Well, I am talking with Alan Tuback, and again, Alan is the Co-Founder of Devlos Software, and also of Soluno, accounting and billing software for law firms and we are talking about hacks to stop the leakage of time in your law firm.
We are going to hear from our sponsors and then we will be back with Alan for the two final hacks to help you stop that leakage. But right now, let’s hear from our sponsors.
Advertiser: Feel like your marketing efforts aren’t getting you the high value cases your firm deserves? For over 15 years Scorpion has helped thousands of law firms, just like yours, attract new cases and grow their practices. As a Google Premier Partner and winner of Google’s Platform Innovator Award, Scorpion has the right resources and technology to aggressively market your law firm and generate better cases from the Internet. For more information, visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast today.
Ready to create and build your own solo or small firm practice, need a nuts and bolts education on the 360-degree experience of starting a business, there is only one online destination dedicated to helping you achieve your goals, Solo Practice University, the only online educational and professional networking community dedicated to lawyers and law students who want to go into practice for themselves, more than 1,000 classes, 58 faculty and mentors. What are you waiting for? Check out solopracticeuniversity.com today.
Christopher T. Anderson: And we are back with Alan Tuback. Alan is the Co-Founder of Devlos Software, and the Founder of the recently launched Soluno, accounting and billing software for law firms. And we are talking about hacks to save time or actually to stop the leakage of time in law firms.
Well, already we have talked about making sure you record it contemporaneously. We talked about getting into the habit, making sure you just use the tools that you use everyday rather than being worried about entering it into a whole new system.
We talked about leveraging our mobile devices and using mobile tools to record the time more accurately, and then we talked about really cool software that enables you to passively capture time, which means it just tracks what you are doing as you are doing it and lets you then go back and say and answer the big question of what in the world did I do all day.
So now for the last two hacks, we were alluding to it already, but one of the important things that Alan was talking to me about and that he mentioned while we were talking about the passive time capture is having this stuff integrated so that it gets into the time and billing systems.
So Alan, how does integration work, why is it important, and how does it increase the amount of time captured?
Alan Tuback: How it works is it could be a direct or indirect connection from one software to the other. This can be achieved in many different ways, either through file import, file export or direct API to API connections. No one solution is the same, so one vendor will have API to API; another vendor will have direct imports, things like that.
The importance of it is that you want to have the ability to have one system populate another system, so for instance, your practice management system, where you have all your cases and contacts and files populate a third party system, like a passive timekeeping solution.
The beauty about that is that you enter the file in once, you don’t have to do any duplicate entry. The receiving end would be once that file information is in the say passive timekeeping solution, you then capture your time in that solution and you don’t have to duplicate the entry in your practice management system.
So whether it be an API push from passive timekeeping or a third party system like Microsoft Word, that direct push to your practice management system or even the ability to go as rudimentary as a file import, so do you have the ability to create an Excel file where you can import directly into your practice management system, the end result is still the same. You have accuracy and you have as much capture of time as possible, which should turn into increased revenue for your law firm.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right. And I think for the listeners, a lot of that can sound a little bit intimidating, overwhelming and this integrating with that, and the other thing and how do I set that all up. But I think from my experience and I am sure from yours that they should be able to ask the vendors of the products that they are using, their time and billing, their accounting software and all the tools that they are using, can this integrate, and their vendors should be able to tell them. Can you just talk a little bit about what they should be looking for and how they should ask that question?
Alan Tuback: Yeah. So I will give you an example. We have been asked through the course of the launch of our product can we integrate with product X or product Y, and most times we can, we can do custom development of either API to API. In fact, we just launched an integration with NetDocuments, even had a client ask us can you integrate with Chrometa, and we were able to get that information out to Chrometa as well as the ability to import it in.
So really depends on the practice management system, the development team, but in this day and age, integration is not as a heavy conversation as it was 10, 15 years ago. With APIs, pretty much they work very well together. Does your practice management system allow you to do an import, how hard or easy is it to configure?
For our system, we have the ability to drag and drop Excel files and we do some smart technology matching on keywords based on your columns that you have in an Excel file. So for us it’s effortless to drag and drop into our software. So, that is one method that you can go very low key and get information pulled in.
When you do talk about integration, it’s not this huge big elephant in the room, you just need to talk to your vendor.
Christopher T. Anderson: Great. And there are some third party tools too. I know that some lawyers that I work with use tools like Zapier, etc to also help make the different products talk to each other.
Alan Tuback: Yes. So again, involve the conversation with your practice management vendor; they might either have an existing connection or can build one really quickly.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. So we started this conversation with the problem, right, and the problem is that only a fraction of the time that lawyers are spending in the office being attorneys, who are owners of law firms or associates in law firms is making it on to bills and getting paid by their clients.
And I think kind of what’s key in that problem is that they know. As I mentioned, part of the information I know came from Clio, part of it comes from the ABA, part of it comes from LexisNexis, different people have studied, but for individual law firms, part of the key to solving this problem is first of all, understanding what the problem is.
With all the information that’s going in and out, how can — can you talk a little bit about how attorneys can measure how they are doing with billing their time today and how they can measure how they are using some of these hacks and using software like yours, like Soluno or other software, can measure how it’s improving their capture of time?
Alan Tuback: Chris, the leakage is one part of the problem and you hit the nail on the head is, how do I know are we going in the right direction, because you could have everything in place and still not capture enough time. It all comes down to reporting and metrics.
So once you get the time into the system, how are you recording it, how do you see is attorney A more productive than attorney B. So it is extremely important to be able to measure the results of your efforts.
So you should be able to report on productivity, and productivity is a big word, but there are certain key areas that you need to look at. Reporting comes in many shapes and sizes. Can you use traditional reports? Are you looking for heat maps in terms of a calendar view, where I am missing chunks of time? Do you want to look at dashboards? Despite whatever method of choice you choose, the ability to track by productivity is important and productivity can be divided into a number of areas.
You can have productivity by attorney, productivity by practice area, by client, by matter, by task; you can even have productivity by month. So it’s, can your system extract all that rich data that you have imported and see are you on the right track to increasing your revenue? Obviously, if you are not, these metrics will give you indications on how to make corrective actions so that you are profitable.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right, yeah. And productivity, as you say, it could be by attorney, by practice area, by client, and also, I mean I know from experience, I am sure you do too, that if you are accurately recording your time contemporaneously, getting it done, that is a cause that leads to the effect of being able to get your bills out on time, which is a cause that leads to the effect of your clients paying the bills on time, and the longer you agonize over all of this, the worse it gets on the collections side.
So you might bill enough, but then you are not collecting enough, because you are not doing it efficiently, you are not doing it quickly and you are not doing it accurately. Does this reporting help with that?
Alan Tuback: Absolutely. And that was the other piece I wanted to add, making sure that your staff or your product, your attorneys are productive from a time capture perspective, but there’s a whole other side of management that people tend to overlook, and that is keeping a very close eye on your billing.
So making sure that your work in progress stays within the 30-60 day bucket; making sure that your system can report on that. Anything outside of that 30-60 day bucket, obviously depending on the area of practice you work on, you want to make sure you bill on a regular basis. Getting your bills out quicker will give you the ability to collect quicker.
So are you able to track on work in progress, are you able to track on your billings; once you have got your bills out, monitoring that number of days that each invoice is outstanding is critical to a business.
You could have a set of clients that owe you a couple of million dollars, but they are 120 days out in terms of the aging, you want to get on top of that, you want to monitor that, you want to get on top of them for collections, because some clients will be faster payers than others and others will take their time. It’s how you manage that all through the reporting and in productivity, so you absolutely know that it was productivity by time, billings and collections.
Christopher T. Anderson: You are talking about capturing more time with these law firms and getting the clients to pay, because they are capturing the time more regularly, keeping the whip bucket within the time that was expected, and also delivering the bills in a timely manner. I think really the question is how does the failure to do that impact clients’ willingness to pay on time and full amount?
Alan Tuback: Well, the faster you get your bills out in a concise format and monitor your outstanding accounts receivable, the faster you will get paid. So it translates directly into money coming in. As you know, there are some clients that will be faster payers than others, so making sure that you are not only tracking your productivity from a time perspective, but also tracking it from a billings and collections point of view.
Obviously, you mentioned that the getting your whip into your bills as quickly as possible, but you have to keep a close eye on how long these bills that you have created are outstanding, you want to stay on top of that with your clients, and then once you have a clear picture there, you will be able to get your collections in quicker, which translates to increased revenue.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I don’t know, it’s a lesson we all have to learn, but the urgency with which we treat the creation of the time entries, the creation of the bills, and the communication of the bills to the clients, all translates with the urgency with which they will pay them.
And I think the other kind of hidden benefit is the more contemporaneously we do this, the more natural the narrative, the more meaningful and insightful the comments you will make on the billing. When you are reconstituting a bill after a week, or as I see a lot of lawyers do it at the end of the month, you are just not remembering exactly what you did or why and most importantly, from my perspective, what the benefit that you conferred to the client was, and that’s what they really care about. And so doing it contemporaneously and doing it — using these hacks I think really would help with that.
Alan, we have reached the end of the time. I wanted to thank you so much for being part of The Un-Billable Hour today. I think this is really valuable for our listeners. Thank you very, very much.
Alan Tuback: Thank you very much for having me Chris, I really enjoyed it.
Christopher T. Anderson: Oh, great. And this wraps up this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Business Advisory Podcast.
Our guest today has been Alan Tuback. Again, he is the Co-Founder of Devlos Software and the creator of the recently launched Soluno, accounting and billing software for law firms.
Alan, in case people want to learn more about Saluno or ask you some questions, what are some places they can go on the web or Twitter or Facebook to reach you?
Alan Tuback: The easiest place is our website, www.soluno.legal. They can find us on Twitter at @DevlosSoftware. You can use the same handle for Facebook and LinkedIn, or simply just send me an email to [email protected]
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. And these links will also be available on the Legal Talk Network, Un-Billable Hour homepage.
For now though, this is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build a law firm business that works for you.
Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us. We will see you again soon.
Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Thanks for listening to The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. Join us again for the next edition, right here with Legal Talk Network.
Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.
Alan Tuback talks about different techniques and tools that can help keep lawyers on track with their billable hours.
Seth Price talks about the four main components of SEO: high quality content, authoritative links, correct coding, and local.
Tyler Todd talks about the access to justice problem and how blockchain and other technology could be a solution.
Greg Garman from Lawclerk talks about when firms should hire freelance lawyers to provide different levels of expertise and free up a law firm’s...
PracticePanther CEO David Bitton dives into the details of just how practice management software can lead to a more focused and efficient law firm.
Kristen David talks about the importance of using systems and how they help law firm owners, staff, and even clients.