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Four timekeeping/ billing programs reviewed

Technology for Lawyers

Published: March 16, 2012

Legal technology is not complicated enough.

Wait—can I have a Mulligan on that one?

Time was, there was one dominant timekeeping/billing law office program—Timeslips. But now, everybody’s getting into the act. If you are unhappy with your current timekeeping programs, there are any number of alternatives on the market.

Time Matters from Lexis-Nexis has just rolled out its Version 11.1. This upgrade will allow Time Matters users to synchronize their individual Time Matters calendars and contacts with Microsoft Outlook, via their Exchange Server, for desktop or mobile phones access. This enables firms to take advantage of the latest Exchange Server enhancements from Microsoft. The calendar function has also been upgraded.

CaseFox (www.casefox.com) lives on the other side of the legal business from complex and expensive software systems. A simple system designed for individuals and smaller offices, CaseFox has a mobile-friendly interface, and can, among other things, track both billable and non-billable hours and expenses, monitor unbilled hours, late payments and handle trust accounting, tasks management and case notes/case tracking. It also integrates into email. Small version is free, pay version is not expensive.

Harvest (www.getharvest.com) is a practice management system that “captures billable time” by allowing attorneys, or anyone who bills by time, and staff, to track time and send invoices from one integrated application. It works in any browser and has iPhone and Android apps. It features a start/stop timer that can be dedicated to any one case or client at a time, and offers any number of different reports. Free trial available; the pay version is not expensive.

MakePace (www.makepace.com) works in exactly the opposite way that most time tracking software operates. It sets a goal of billable (or non-billable, such as pro bono) hours, and then counts down time spent on that particular function in hundredths of a second. MakePace, which is a free program, was developed by Chicago lawyer David Geerdes in his spare time. Attorneys set up a billable-hours goal a year in advance, check off the holidays and vacation time they plan to take, and MakePace immediately starts monitoring their progress.