Comment: The Insider 200 Chart and Time Recording
The Legal IT Insider UK Top 200 Chart has now been extended to include a new column for 3rd party Time Recording software.
While it’s good to see recognition of the emergence of dedicated solutions – as opposed to the products included with PMS/legal accounts software – the lack of any historical data makes it difficult to detect market sentiment, to distinguish what’s legacy and what’s in vogue.
As the only global vendor solely dedicated to time recording, we’re obviously well positioned to see the application’s evolution both here and overseas. And while we’re enjoying a noticeable increase in demand and steady influx of new clients, the new chart still throws into relief a worrying statistic – that only a third of the top tier have rolled out third party products, compared to two thirds in the US.
Yet we’re talking about a tool for one of the most critical tasks in any law firm – ensuring 100% visibility of time, output and cost across the practice. In the UK, as the pressure on good governance and strong fiscal management increases, and demand for alternative billing models intensifies, it is only the dedicated solution that can truly support the legal business going forward.
A common theme of new wins achieved over the past 12 months is a law firm management team that understands that time will always be the fundamental currency of the law firm, the basic unit of cost. Time and expertise are what it has available to sell and they need to be able to see in real-time just how much of those commodities is being sold – who is doing what and for how long and for whom, tracked 24/7, across every matter, ever document, email, meeting, phone call. Today’s PMS simply doesn’t offer the specific functionality, scope or usability to deliver against those requirements.
Time recording is more than just identifying leakage these days. Yes, you may find more time to charge out, sometimes significant amounts, but with the changing billing landscape, and the drive towards fixed, capped and contingency fees, there is far more awareness of time recording as a management information source, a business intelligence tool and a competitive weapon. The data it captures can unlock more reliable costing; keener pricing; more intelligent resourcing; more proactive WIP management; more transparent client working, where inputs and outputs are clearly visible to both sides; improved utilization due to the better match up of time and payment from the outset, and accelerated, query-free collection at the end; and basically just a far more comprehensive understanding of how your practice ticks.
Those firms who have already transitioned to specialist tools such as Rekoop are certainly intent on driving better performance, more sustainable businesses and ultimately improved PEP through greater self-awareness of just what it takes, in time and expertise, to deliver a compelling, competitive, client-centric legal service. It’ll be interesting to see how many have followed suit by the time of the 2015 Insider Top 200 chart.