The importance of good time recording
Produced in partnership with Robert Mowbray of Taylor Mowbray LLP
The importance of good time recording

The following Practice Management practice note Produced in partnership with Robert Mowbray of Taylor Mowbray LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The importance of good time recording
  • Why do legal businesses need to record time?
  • Time recording v billing
  • Hourly rate v fixed price
  • Impact of full-time capture on realisation rates
  • How should time be recorded?
  • Speed
  • Record everything
  • Categories of time
  • Narrative descriptions
  • More...

This Practice Note is intended for law firms. It explains why time recording is so important. It also explores best practice around time recording and considers the impact on write-offs if more time is captured.

Why do legal businesses need to record time?

Law firms have not always recorded time. There are still solicitors who can remember 'the good old days' when the work was done and an assessment of a fair fee was made at the end of the matter by reviewing the weight of the file.

The introduction of time recording resulted in a significant increase in fees billed as it became easier to demonstrate to the client the full extent of the work undertaken.

Time recording v billing

UK lawyers can learn something about time recording from US lawyers. US lawyers have always understood the primary reason for recording time is to understand the cost of the work being undertaken and that it is therefore necessary to record everything. Whether this time can be billed is a separate issue and must only be considered at the point of billing.

In the UK and Europe law firm culture often confuses time recording with billing. As a consequence, many lawyers discount their time twice:

  1. first at the point of recording, and

  2. for a second time when the lawyer comes to bill the client

Hourly rate v fixed price

There is a

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