Law Firms Discovering ‘New Found Time’ with TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry
While time capture has remained relatively unchanged for decades, there is an overall inefficiency with the practice which contributes to ongoing revenue leakage for lawyers and firms. Rather than an evolved system, time capture remains a series of fragmented individual activities performed by lawyers and their assistants. Often, this involves recreating or remembering past activities over month-long periods.
PensEra Knowledge Technologies is changing this with their TimeKM system for capturing time and activities. In this interview, Varsha Bhat, President of PensEra Knowledge Technologies, talks to BlackBerry Connection® about TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry® - a non-disruptive mobile time capture tool for lawyers.
BlackBerry Connection (BC): Give us a quick description of the TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry solution.
Varsha Bhat (VB): Sure. The TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry application extends time tracking capabilities beyond the desktop, and lets lawyers capture billable events as they happen, using a simple interface.
Captured time data is sent from the BlackBerry® smartphone to TimeKM Web (at the desktop) where it can be received and validated by an assistant, which shortens the gap between billable action and recording of that action in the system. This kind of enterprise solution decreases the billing cycle, increases accuracy, and frees up personal time for lawyers. Ultimately they spend less time trying to recreate each day when they sit down to add up billable hours.
One of the biggest benefits lawyers find with this mobile time capture capability is what we call 'new found time' where they essentially turn what's perceived as downtime into revenue opportunities.
BC: Can you explain how TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry creates revenue opportunities for lawyers?
VB: Certainly. It does so through 'new found time' which is any window of time outside of normal business hours that a lawyer might spend performing a billable activity. Say a lawyer arrives home in his driveway and his cell phone rings. He takes the call and spends 12 minutes talking to his client. On Saturday night at the theatre, while waiting for the performance to start, the same lawyer may spend another 15 minutes responding to emails.
And over the course of a month, there are many of these little segments of time, usually less than 30 minutes in length, spent on cases. Because recording these short activities is perceived as an administrative hassle, the lawyer usually underestimates or forgets entirely about these mobile events when the time comes to record his billable hours.
TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry application solves this, allowing the lawyer to easily capture the time as the event occurs. It's is an intuitive time capture solution that sits on the very device that is used to perform the mobile work, that is, the phone calls and emails.
We have data that substantiates this new found time among our user base, and it is significant.
BC: How many additional billable hours can lawyers capture, on average?
VB: Finding an additional 2-3 hours per month of new found time is typical. The increased revenues recovered can add up quickly. For example, one client recovered 1.9 additional billable hours per month per lawyer. At an hourly rate of $400, that's $9,120 in new revenues per lawyer, per year, that was going uncaptured.
Quick Reference Chart: Annual New Revenues Recoverable
Reference: This chart is from p. 13 of the white paper Lawyer Responsiveness: How Small and Mid-Sized Firms Can Use Mobility to Become More Competitive In the Face of High Client Expectations
BC: So there is a hard ROI from the TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry solution.
VB: Yes, the ROI on TimeKM Mobile is found within weeks. At typical charge out rates, capturing even one extra billable hour will recouped your investment.
And there's a second dimension to the ROI. TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry automates a great deal of the time tracking process. Assistants at the firm simply receive and validate time capture data from BlackBerry smartphones at the desktop, so they spend less time double-checking figures, reading timesheets, manually entering data, etcetera.
View Sample Screen shot of TimeKM application
BC: Who is using TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry?
VB: Law firms of all sizes use the solution. There are now over 10,000 new users worldwide, and this uptake occurred over an eight month period.
BC: Would you say TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry is changing how lawyers capture time?
VB: Yes and no. Really, the reason why the tool is so successful is because it's non-disruptive. It works quite seamlessly with each lawyer's existing personal habits for time tracking. The lawyer can configure the tool to be highly interactive on the device, or it can run in the background, automatically sending time capture 'reports' to the enterprise.
So it doesn't force change in terms of forcing lawyers to adopt new behaviours. Having said that, what is changing is the level of lawyer participation in the time capture process.
BC: More lawyers are using the tool to capture their own time?
VB: That's right. Industry standards show participation levels by lawyers in the capture of their own time using traditional time and billing systems at typically 23%. Firms that have deployed TimeKM have reported upwards of 67% lawyers participating in the capture of their time. In fact, at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP in Ottawa, 60% of their lawyers began using TimeKM within 24 hours of their 15-minute training session!
This rapid uptake can be attributed to the simplicity of the interface, which is exactly what firms want. White & Case in New York City, for example, have clearly expressed the desire to make it easier for their lawyers to accurately identify the value of their services.
BC: Apart from increased billable hours, how else does TimeKM Mobile for BlackBerry make a positive impact on the firm?
VB: In addition to the new found time we mentioned earlier, firms will get highly accurate, highly detailed time capture data. This increases the accuracy and credibility of invoices to clients. If a client can look at a detailed bill and say to herself, “Yes, I did speak to this lawyer at 6:45pm on Thursday, and there it is on the invoice,” then she has a high level of confidence in the integrity of her law firm.
We also collect feedback from stakeholders throughout our client firms, and can see that the benefits being experienced are widespread. Lawyers, of course, enjoy the simplicity of capture. Law firm administrators are happy because the capture of time as it happens reduces the typical month-end time tracking crunch. And CFOs are seeing a very compelling ROI, from increased revenues and reduction of administrative costs.
Related Links and Resources:
View Sample Screen shot of TimeKM application
Time KM Mobile for BlackBerry Demo Video
BlackBerry for Professional Services Firms - Extending Key Business Applications Wirelessly
Introduction to RIM Professional Services: Optimizing Mobility Investments
TimeKM Users Say:
“TimeKM is the simplest, fastest, most natural time entry system we've ever seen. Even the most reluctant lawyers now enjoy faster time entry than ever before.”
Glenn Zakaib, Partner, Cassels Brock, Toronto, ON
“TimeKMTM was easily implemented, quickly appreciated and immediately impacted our bottom line. It doesn't get better than that.”
Chris Hoyer, Managing Partner, James Hoyer, Tampa, FL
“We wanted something simple enough that most lawyers could enter their own time. PensEra's TimeKM system offered the kind of simplicity and flow that fit the way our lawyers worked.”
Marilyn Whitcomb, Executive Director, Keesal, Young & Logan, Long Beach, CA
“We want to make it easier for our lawyers to accurately identify the value of their services.”
Eugene P. Stein, CKO & Global Head of Technology, White & Case, New York, NY
Screen shot of web-based TimeKM application
Mobile entries from lawyers land on the assistant's desktop, shown. Multiple tabs (top of screen) represent the various lawyers this assistant supports. Total tracked hours for date shown in work area (left) are displayed by day in the calendar view (right).