A recent study of 60,000 North American lawyers shows that lawyers only spend 2.3 hours per day on billable time. It makes sense that South Africa is no different.
This is based on an 8 hour day which logically then makes the easy assumption that lawyers work long into the dark and lonely hours to make up the difference. The rest of the time according to the survey is spent on admin, prepping and sending bills, technology configuration, collections and rainmaking. You might ask why I refer to a study conducted by one of our competitor systems. It could be said, cynically, that these results are an indictment on the usability of their system or the adequacy of their training. I somehow doubt that though. It’s more likely that they are trying everything possible, including facts and figures, to convince their users to become more disciplined in using the system properly – something that we at AJS have in common with them. So, while we compete in the practice management space we could well be brothers in arms when it comes to our quest for wanting the very best for the lawyers who make up our client base. Besides, this particular competitor is more expensive, does not have integrated Trust accounting and don’t operate on my turf so I am not particularly worried about losing customers to them.
Working long hours is an accepted (expected) part of life in the legal industry. The young, ambitious lawyer needs to make an impression. The successful practitioner at the height of their power needs to keep momentum and make hay while the sun is shining. The attorney nearing the end of an illustrious career needs to ensure that the impending winter years are as cosy and as comfortable as possible.
Whatever the reason and wherever you are in your career you more than likely work towards some kind of a billing target, whether self – imposed or not.
This is often (or at least should be) reduced to a daily figure and we all know that there are 24 hours in a day – right – so if you need to work all day and night to reach your target then so be it right? Seems crazy but I wonder how many of us actually think like that without prioritizing the parts of our lives that we are actually working for – family, leisure and exercise. This is a really, really hard way to find and bill extra hours that are needed.
The easier way to create the extra time is to invest in a system such as AJS and/or Xpressdox properly and to automate as many of the time consuming tasks and mundane procedures as possible. You can then look at making target and enjoying the sunshine – a much better deal all round.
So, read the study and draw your own conclusions while I leave you with some information of our own for you to think about.
- You can cover the costs of an AJS legal accounting and practice management system by billing an extra 2 to 3 minutes per working day depending on what your hourly rate is.
- AJS is web based so you can have access from anywhere.
- AJS is designed so that nothing slips through the cracks if used properly.
- AJS is designed to automate the mundane as far as possible which leaves you with the maximum amount of time per day to do what you do best – ie practice law and bill for your time and expertise.
- Many of you have already acquired AJS or a similar system and are not using it to its full or potential capacity.
- Many of you will still be working the long and lonely dark hours to make target this time next year having not made the changes you need to make today.
We are available to discuss your particular needs, challenges and solutions to ensure an increase in your billing hours – by making intelligent changes rather than working longer and longer hours. We are just a call or an email away.
Contributed by: Digby Vickers – Director at AJS