Monday, July 2, 2007

Organizing to Increase Billable Hours

Ff_may_07_3 "Does Your Daily Planner Need an Intervention?" was the title of an article I wrote for the May issue of Facts & Findings, the quarterly journal for paralegals and legal assistants published by the National Association of Legal Assistants. That article generated a lot of interest and I heard from paralegals from all over the country. One e-mail was from my new cyber-friend, Susan, who requested additional time organization tips. Her message was my impetus for establishing this blog. Susan’s most pressing issue actually was e-mail. How could she NOT let e-mail messages control her day? We worked on that problem together and she seems to have this concern under control. Then she shared another predicament: “…I’ve been having trouble making myself keep track of my time for billing purposes. I just get going and don’t write stuff down, and then I'm trying to re-create and I know I'm losing time I could bill. I think it's just a question of self-discipline, making myself write it down while I'm working, but I'm really struggling with it!" Oh, my…didn’t THAT strike a familiar chord!

This is a problem for many paralegals. Susan is on the right track, though. She knows she must exercise self-discipline. In addition, she has to establish a routine for entering her time. We will establish a routine that works for her. Whatever the routine, it must feel natural and happen almost automatically. During the month of July, I will be coaching Susan as she establishes good habits for recording her time and increasing her billable hours. Stay tuned as I post about our progress over the next few weeks.


Llaw said...


I am very green. I am billing for the first time and confused about how to figure it. My firm bills by .6 increments (1/10 of hour). I really feel dumb in asking, but if I worked 45 min. do I divide that by .6 to get the decimal form of the time I should bill? Not something that is my strong suit.


Paralegal Mentor said...

This is a good question. The simple answer is that you will enter your time as either .7 (rounding down) or .8 (rounding up)and I would suggest rounding up. For more information, I'm offering a free teleseminar this coming Thursday titled 'Discover Your Billable Hour Inner Power' For more info go to