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Mastering Time Entry and Outside Counsel Guidelines: A Roadmap to Legal Revenue Optimization

As we begin our journey through the legal landscape it seems fitting to start the year off by focusing on time entry. Time entry is where the revenue cycle begins, so it is critical time is entered promptly, accurately and conforms to Outside Counsel Guidelines.

Time Entry Speed
Some law firms are very good at encouraging attorneys to enter their time promptly. They track “time entry speed” which is the average time it takes for time to be posted. This measure looks at the difference between the worked date of the time entry and the posted date. A score of three days or below is considered good. Other firms still struggle getting all time entered in the system and are forced to leave the accounting period open for several days into the new month. Ultimately, this delays the billing cycle and subsequently delays cash flow.

All firms should review their time entry policy to ensure it encourages timely entry and posting of time. Identifying users who stray from policy standards and addressing these issues individually can significantly improve compliance and efficiency.


Outside Counsel Guidelines
Once time is entered, the billing cycle begins. However, firms may encounter challenges with the time entries not conforming to Outside Counsel Guidelines.

If you are not familiar with Outside Counsel Guidelines, corporations have become increasingly demanding regarding how they are billed. Outside Counsel Guidelines may include the increments of time to be used, the exclusion of “block billing”, the use of task and activity codes and the inclusion of certain words or tasks considered non-billable. If these guidelines are not followed, the client may not pay for the time. This can add up to thousands of dollars of lost revenue if not managed properly.

Legal time and billing software such as Aderant Expert provides ways to combat these ever-increasing client demands.

  • You can use Red Flag Words to prevent or warn a user when a specific word should not be used. The software can also suggest an alternative word that is acceptable to the client.
  •  You can set up billing rules to identify potential violations of guidelines. For example, the client may limit a timekeeper from billing more than 8 hours per day. The billing rule can be set to identify if this situation has occurred.
  •  To make life even easier, Aderant now offers software called Onyx, to read the Outside Counsel Guideline document. Using AI, the software suggests rules you should configure to help conform to the Outside Counsel Guidelines.

Paying close attention to time entry and Outside Counsel Guidelines has a measurable impact on revenue as you will increase the speed at which you can bill and collect while also increasing the amount you are paid for your work.

The Simplex BI Team