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utmguy

Do you enter your own dockets?

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While I sit in my office at 11AM, I find myself mindlessly entering dockets spanning about 2 weeks.  A task that will likely take me over an hour, considering the number of files I've worked on.  (Probably at least 15 entries per day.)  

My system has always been to jot down any work I do contemporaneously during the day on a notepad, and then formally enter it into our accounting system at a later date.  In a perfect world I would do this every day, though in practice I usually procrastinate and let them build up over a couple of weeks.  Thankfully I have never lost my notepads.

My understanding is that all of the lawyers in my office enter their own dockets, though this is far from universal in the profession.  There also seems to be a sense of a stigma against delegating docketing to your assistant.

What's your general practice for docketing?

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I enter my own dockets every day. My firm’s accounting program has a timer function so I use timers to track lengthy email replies, drafting etc. At the end of the day I look at my email inbox and sent email folder to see if there’s anything I missed that is billable. If I didn’t docket daily it would be completely overwhelming and more importantly I would miss too much billable time.

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1 hour ago, wakawaka said:

I enter my own dockets every day. My firm’s accounting program has a timer function so I use timers to track lengthy email replies, drafting etc. At the end of the day I look at my email inbox and sent email folder to see if there’s anything I missed that is billable. If I didn’t docket daily it would be completely overwhelming and more importantly I would miss too much billable time.

This is the best way to deal with docketing so that it doesn't become the bane of your existence. I follow the same process

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I enter dockets on slow days, but I keep a less formal version of dockets in a word doc (the equivalent of my keeping time). Just because our software would take me 3 times as much time to keep track with as opposed to word doc.

Slow days don't happen often enough, so I'm usually every couple/few weeks spending a couple hours or so doing them.

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2 hours ago, wakawaka said:

I enter my own dockets every day. My firm’s accounting program has a timer function so I use timers to track lengthy email replies, drafting etc. At the end of the day I look at my email inbox and sent email folder to see if there’s anything I missed that is billable. If I didn’t docket daily it would be completely overwhelming and more importantly I would miss too much billable time.

This is exactly what I do too. Sometimes I let it sit for a couple of days but it gets untenable after that. Plus I don't want our accounts manager to email me about unbilled time -.-

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24 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I enter dockets on slow days, but I keep a less formal version of dockets in a word doc (the equivalent of my keeping time). Just because our software would take me 3 times as much time to keep track with as opposed to word doc.

Slow days don't happen often enough, so I'm usually every couple/few weeks spending a couple hours or so doing them.

This is not a good practice if you are a junior lawyer working on senior lawyers’ files. They may bill the file without asking you if all your time has been entered. If they do and your dockets aren’t in, they are not recoverable. The lawyer isn’t going to send the client a bill then a few weeks later send another bill for the same work/time period because their associate’s time wasn’t entered.

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1 minute ago, wakawaka said:

This is not a good practice if you are a junior lawyer working on senior lawyers’ files. They may bill the file without asking you if all your time has been entered. If they do and your dockets aren’t in, they are not recoverable. The lawyer isn’t going to send the client a bill then a few weeks later send another bill for the same work/time period because their associate’s time wasn’t entered.

At my organization there's a set date our dockets for the last month needs to be in, so it's not an issue.

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I docket as I go. Our system is very easy with built in timers so it's far easier to just do it vs. waiting until later. 

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What software does everyone use? I absolutely hate PC Law. We all seem to enter our dockets at different times. I'd say it's a 50/50 split of us entering them as we go versus at the end of the month. We have a deadline to submit dockets for each month, so it's no problem. Dockets are due by the 5th and accounts typically go out by the 10th or 15th at the latest for the previous month. 

@utmguy I would recommend you ditch the notepad and start using Excel to track your dockets. Save the file to Dropbox or One Drive or somewhere that will be saved in case your computer crashes. 

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I definitely know lawyers who let their clerks/assistant docket - do not recommend this, it is a slippery slope.

I like the tracker on Clio, simple and useful.

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My firm uses intapp. I always have timers running and once a week I update the narratives and release my dockets to the system.

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I do not work without a timer running and I docket daily. Any other system would just waste more time in my experience.

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2 hours ago, Viszlaw said:

What software does everyone use? I absolutely hate PC Law. We all seem to enter our dockets at different times. I'd say it's a 50/50 split of us entering them as we go versus at the end of the month. We have a deadline to submit dockets for each month, so it's no problem. Dockets are due by the 5th and accounts typically go out by the 10th or 15th at the latest for the previous month. 

@utmguy I would recommend you ditch the notepad and start using Excel to track your dockets. Save the file to Dropbox or One Drive or somewhere that will be saved in case your computer crashes. 

Clio/Fasterlaw

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6 hours ago, Viszlaw said:

What software does everyone use? I absolutely hate PC Law.

PC Law unfortunately. Old habits apparently die hard, and my firm likes ancient technology.

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2 hours ago, Ryn said:

PC Law unfortunately. Old habits apparently die hard, and my firm likes ancient technology.

We've had PC Law since our (former) principal ran the show and we are too anxious to try switching. That and PC Law is cheaper?

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I use Clockify to track time as I go, it's free, easy to use, and I can export reports to excel and share them with accounting

Edited by canuckfanatic
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1 hour ago, canuckfanatic said:

I use Clockify to track time as I go, it's free, easy to use, and I can export reports to excel and share them with accounting

Why the fuck am I only finding this now?!? Game changing. 

Edited by realpseudonym
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1 hour ago, canuckfanatic said:

I use Clockify to track time as I go, it's free, easy to use, and I can export reports to excel and share them with accounting

Do you also use this for generating bills and tracking trust funds, or is it just for timekeeping?

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3 minutes ago, Viszlaw said:

Do you also use this for generating bills and tracking trust funds, or is it just for timekeeping?

Purely for time tracking. You can add your clients + separate projects for each client, either input the start/end time or click start/stop to track as you go. Add descriptions, put in your hourly rate if you want to see how much you billed, and even indicate whether the task you did was billable or not.

Once every few days I export a detailed report and send it to one of the assistants to add to our accounting software.

There's a desktop app and mobile app if you'd rather not use your browser.

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8 minutes ago, canuckfanatic said:

Purely for time tracking. You can add your clients + separate projects for each client, either input the start/end time or click start/stop to track as you go. Add descriptions, put in your hourly rate if you want to see how much you billed, and even indicate whether the task you did was billable or not.

Once every few days I export a detailed report and send it to one of the assistants to add to our accounting software.

There's a desktop app and mobile app if you'd rather not use your browser.

Got it. So then what accounting software do you use? This is where I get stuck with PC Law lol

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