Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young (HPTY) leveraged mobile time entry to increase accuracy and reduce time leakage.
As they say, the struggle is real. Frequent rejections due to a complex billing process are common among the nation’s top law firms. Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young (HPTY) was no exception.
“Mobile time entry has increased in importance from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’.” - Tim Arvidson
A Focus on Accuracy Led to Action at HPTY
Attorneys at HPTY, which represent some of America’s largest corporations, small local businesses and individual clients in high risk litigation and business disputes across the country, would often word time entry narratives in ways that were inconsistent with client billing guidelines, thus leading to frequent rejections. As a result, the firm set out to streamline the billing process in order to reduce the rejection rate of client bills. Interested in driving timekeeping compliance at HPTY, the firm’s Director of Accounting & Billing, Tim Arvidson, launched a pilot of a mobile time entry solution.
Considering that the majority of bills are sent electronically, any inconsistency between the firm’s electronic bills and client billing guidelines are likely to lead to rejections, thus taxing firm resources, delaying payment, and compromising client trust.
Like most firms, HPTY has a written timekeeping policy in place. However, like many firms there was a gap between the written policy and everyday behaviors of attorneys. In other words, there was a lack of attorney timekeeping habit to support the firm’s formal rules.
Therefore, HPTY initiated a behavioral shift for attorneys of varied seniority levels in order to drive mobile time entry adoption for attorneys who were accustomed to using spreadsheets, documents, or even legal pads to keep track of their time.
At the start of the project, Arvidson quickly realized that mobile time entry had increased in importance from a “nice to have” to a “must have”. A successful outcome was of crucial importance to the firm, as it would set the stage for future timekeeping success.
A Top-Down Approach to Success Leads to Amazing Results
After identifying the firm’s goals and reviewing the implementation plan, Arvidson carefully selected the initial group of attorneys to use mobile timekeeping. The group was comprised of attorneys who were likely to be vocal about their mobile timekeeping experience and influence others within the firm to adopt the mobile time entry solution. Arvidson’s approach reflected the internal sales pitch needed for attorneys to adopt the technology, far in advance of the firm-wide rollout.
This approach proved successful. While attorneys were testing the mobile time entry solution, the buzz within the firm increased. Suddenly, attorneys throughout the firm were requesting access to the mobile time entry solution at all levels of seniority, including equity partners!
Several significant findings emerged from collecting and analyzing data from the initial results:
- 99% of time entered was done on a mobile device or tablet, rather than through the firm’s Time & Billing System.
- 100% of the attorneys included in the initial rollout group were active participants.
- The firm reduced time leakage by 26%, accounting for time that would have otherwise been lost (work performed outside of business hours and on holidays).
- Time velocity* increased, as 64% of the entries happened within one day of the work performed. 2/3 of timekeepers were fully contemporaneous.
How to Maintain Momentum for a Successful “Firm-Wide” Rollout
After success was achieved on the first phase of the project, HPTY confirmed that mobile time entry was a good fit for the firm. As a result, the demand for mobile time entry within the firm had soared. Arvidson received so many requests that he enlisted a wait list to provide post-rollout access to attorneys on a “first come, first serve” basis. While Arvidson could have provided access to all attorneys at the same time, he chose to carry out the rollout in small groups in order to keep a tighter handle on the process and continue to instill a sense of demand and urgency for mobile timekeeping within the firm. Arvidson completed the firm-wide rollout with 100% volunteer usage, which demonstrated success in adoption. He plans to transition to a policy, which will make mobile time entry a requirement.
Timekeeping accuracy is one of the most important factors in the financial health of any law firm. When there are issues with inaccuracies, several consequences arise, such as time leakage, incorrect bill submissions and delayed billing cycles. The best way to increase accuracy at the firm is to put the power in the hands of attorneys through mobile time entry that is simple enough for attorneys to use from anywhere.