Successful Implementation of Law Department Time-Tracking

By on June 21, 2017

Kevin Clem, HBR Consulting

In order to increases productivity and reduce unnecessary expenses, many law departments are seeking greater transparency with regard to how employees spend their time. Time-tracking initiatives in particular are becoming common as a way to identify workflow redundancies and inefficiencies.

These initiatives sometimes encounter resistance, but with careful planning, transparency, and the right technology, it can be minimized. Among the recommendations: Learn from your peers. Consult with other in-house counsel that have established similar programs. Find the right tools. Excel spreadsheets are one option for tracking employee time, but they are limited in their capacity to provide insight into workflow trends or resource gaps. Consider other more robust tools that enable instant, actionable analysis and automated dashboards. “Lead from the top,” but make sure middle managers and practice leaders are on board. Ideally, general counsel should lead the internal messaging regarding time-tracking through a top-down communication structure, while ensuring that department leaders understand the program’s importance and goals and can make clear the anticipated benefits to the rest of the department.

Among other benefits, time-tracking data can help law department leadership make a more informed case to company executives for additional budget or resource investments.

Despite the sometimes visceral initial reaction by staff, with a thoughtful approach to planning and communication, time-tracking initiatives can uncover significant opportunities for increased efficiencies and end up as a benefit, not a burden.

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