No one task is more essential for law firms, and yet more universally loathed among lawyers, than recording time. Writing down the value and effort that make up your legal advice, in six-minute increments, is an irritating experience shared by almost any lawyer in private practice. One attorney I know equated recording time to clicking on the meter in a taxi cab. Another attorney proudly announced that, as part of a switch to being a government attorney, she would never have to record time again. Basically, it sucks.
Although alternative billing structures are out there, the bill-per-hour is still the most widely accepted way for an attorney to charge a client, especially when you include some of the hybrid models being used today. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that time is recorded accurately, and as soon after the task is completed as possible. Not the easiest of tasks while in the office. Much more difficult when you’re not.
Here are 6 Excellent Timekeeping Apps for Lawyers, whether you use iOS or Android, to help you accurately track your time while you’re on the go.
I’ll admit right from the start that I’m a little biased on this one. iTimeKeep is the app I use most regularly, and it is my favorite of the timekeeping apps for lawyers. Offering two options for use, the free “stand-alone” time recording functions, or using the Bellefield Connect system to integrate with your firm’s billing or matter-management software, iTimeKeep works for anyone.
Record your time on the go, and either enter the information manually when you return to the office, or use the app’s seamless connection with many of the popular billing software packages currently on the market (including Amicus, Tabs3, ProLaw, Juris, PCLaw, Time Matters, Timeslips, and many more).
Record your time as you complete tasks, or activate the stopwatch. Or even add time via voice commands. Important? No. Entertaining? Absolutely.
UPDATE: Information stored in iTimeKeep is encrypted, with security measures that meet or exceed all applicable security standards under both HIPPA and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Price: Free for standalone. With Bellefield Connect, variable.
2) Time Master + Billing by On-Core Software (iOS, Android)
Among the most popular timekeeping apps for lawyers, Time Master + Billing is an excellent app for tracking your time. With the ability to maintain multiple running timers, you no longer have to worry about double or triple (or worse) entries into your smartphone for the same project, just because a client in another matter happened to call. Categorize your clients – and even your time entries – by task and project, with sub-categories available.
Set multiple billing rates, even for the same client, and track your billing and expenses using powerful reporting tools that allow you to sort information by client, project, task, expenditure, and invoice status. One feature I’m particularly keen on is the ability to import your client information via CSV file. In-app purchases available for invoicing module and options to export your time to QuickBooks.
UPDATE: Time Master now has full Dropbox integration, as well as cross-platform synchronization.
Price: $9.99. Upgrade with the Invoicing Module for $9.99, the Synchronization Module for $6.99 or the Quickbooks Export Module for $5.99 via in-app purchase.
The Mobile App component of a comprehensive billing and invoicing system, Bill4Time is a complete timekeeping system for small business. With the ability to track everything from time and expenses to client and project information, the invoicing and reporting functions of the Bill4Time software are unmatched on this list.
Unfortunately, Bill4Time is not a completely standalone app for recording time, meaning you will not gain much usefulness from the app without purchasing the billing software that goes along with it. However, if you’re willing to foot the price for the full package, you’ll find, like Morgan Smith of the Cogent Legal blog, that Bill4Time is “a fantastic program for billing, creating invoices, [and] tracking time spent.”
UPDATE: Bill4Time now includes a sortable and searchable list of ABA Legal Billing codes.
Price: Free download. Bill4Time software packages from $9.99, Bill4Time Legal software packages from $19.99.
4) Hours Tracker by cribasoft, LLC (iOS, Android)
It’s undeniable that, in today’s legal market, the pure “billable hour” may not survive long, as alternative billing methods and hybrid models gain popularity. Adaptability is key, both for lawyers, and the tools we use. Hours Tracker is up to the task. With advanced features and customization options like location awareness and expected time reached alerts, Hours Tracker can meet your timekeeping needs for a wide variety of billing types.
Hours Tracker is designed for easy entry of your time, whether you utilize the “clock-in” style of timekeeping or record it after the fact. You can activate a timer, and once you “clock out,” Hours Tracker creates a brand new entry in your system. Want to make sure you’re capturing all of your billable time? Turn on the location awareness feature and automatically create a new time entry, with details to be added later, whenever you leave the office.
Price: Free download. Upgrade to Personal Edition for $4.99, or Pro Edition for $8.99 via in-app purchase.
5) Timewerks Pro by Sorth LLC (iOS)
Timewerks Pro allows you to track your time and expenses across multiple client accounts. You can record time based on direct input of hours or built-in stopwatch. With the ability to customize different billable rates for different clients, Timewerks Pro offers a complete timekeeping system for attorneys.
Additional features include the ability to create invoices and work estimates, complete with your company’s logo, in either HTML or PDF format. Additional subscription options allow you to sync your time records via www.mytimewerks.com, and Timewerks Pro is even able to accept credit card payments via a separately available Credit Card Terminal. Among my favorite features (which, amazingly enough, is NOT universal) is that you are able to enter all of your time and data even when no network connection is available. All information is stored on your device.
UPDATE: The original version of this post listed the Timewerks app (now Timewerks Classic).
Price: $6.99. Add Timewerks Data Sync for $2.99 per month (or $24.99 annually) via in-app purchase. For those not interested in PDF invoices/estimates, data backup, or invoice logos, try out the more basic Timewerks app for $3.99 (or Timewerks Lite for free).
Gleeo Time Tracker by Gridvision Engineering GmbH (Android)
A simple, but highly-rated and effective timekeeping app for lawyers for the Android OS. Time Tracker is designed for ease of use, optimized to take full advantage of touch screen devices. Assign specific labels to your cases, enter time, and switch between matters with a single tap of the screen. I don’t know about you, but it feels like the most ridiculous billing issues I have is remembering the 5 (I mean 6) minute phone call that came right in the middle of 2 hours of research… for a different matter. Quickly moving from one matter to another is especially easy on Time Tracker.
Easy editing of entries allows you to quickly correct any errors on entry, whether it’s an active or archived entry. However, where Time Tracker truly shines is the visualizations and reports available to track your time. Additionally, you can easily export the data in CSV format, making it easy to incorporate into most traditional billing systems.
6) OfficeTime by OfficeTime Software (iOS)
While not the flashiest of the timekeeping apps on the list, OfficeTime offers all the basic tools necessary for attorneys who need to keep track of billable time and expenses on the go. With the ability to organize and categorize billing information by project, task, or client, as well as to-the-minute billing (for anyone tired of recording in 6-minute increments, I guess), all the basic tools you need are right here.
Probably the best feature about OfficeTime is… well, PCMag.com’s Jill Duffy really put it best: “And because it’s a one-time purchase with no subscription fees or add-on costs, OfficeTime for iPad is a bargain and a PCMag Editors’ Choice Product.” That’s not to say that OfficeTime doesn’t have additional capabilities. With the purchase of the OfficeTime desktop software ($47), you add the ability to sync your mobile time records with a full invoicing system.
UPDATE: Recent enhancements and updates have improved the “on-the-fly” reporting available in the app. Additionally, OfficeTime now has compatibility with various calendar systems, including iCal, which allows users to view billing and time-tracking information within their current calendar systems.
Price: $7.99 (or try OfficeTime Lite for free).
TimeClock Pro by Spotlight Six Software (Android)
Time Clock Pro is an excellent timekeeping app for lawyers, combining numerous features together into an intuitive, flexible system. With the ability to track time based on manually entered time, or based on a running time clock, this app provides excellent flexibility for different uses. Switch tasks using a single button, track expenses, record notes within each one of your billing entries, and produce reports based on your time (Dropbox and Google Drive Compatible).
The TimeClock Pro is an entirely self-sufficient, standalone app, but by signing up for a free TimeClock account, you gain access to numerous additional features, like instant data backups, the ability to view – and review – all of your entries on a laptop or desktop computer, and an optional invoice system.
UPDATE: TimeClock Pro now includes options for designating clients or projects as “flat fee,” allowing you to separate out clients who may not be paying by the hour, but for whom you would still like to evaluate performance based on time spent.
Price: $6.99. Add an invoice system for $5 per month.
Is there anything I missed? If you feel that there are timekeeping apps for lawyers that I should have included on this list, let me know!
About the Author
Brian Focht is a civil litigation attorney and technology enthusiast. In addition to being the author of The Cyber Advocate, he is also the producer and host of the Legal Technology Review podcast, and co-founder of B&R Concepts, a small business technology consulting company.