Lost revenues are reflected in the income of law practitioners who do
not have consistent billing system and are relying on recall rather
than time-keeping records.
"Studies have proven they (the attorneys) are forgetting 50
percent of what they do for people if they are not writing it down as
they do it," said Irene Sawyer, founder of The Information Place
Research indicates attorneys who do not keep time records forget
50 percent of all phone calls, informal conferences and time spent
thinking on the client's behalf - time that is never billed to the
By comparison, attorneys who keep track of their time and bill on
a regular basis have 25 to 45 percent higher revenues, Sawyer said.
Sawyer formed The Information Place originally as a time-keeping/
billing and management service to law firms, especially for sole
practitioners or firms with only two or three attorneys.
The computerized billing service sends statements to clients from
information kept by the attorney through a system developed by
The Information Place is now expanding to serve other types of
consulting professions, but Sawyer's specialty is still in the area
of law. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Sawyer has a
masters in public administration and six years of experience working
for a Norman-based law firm.
A system, as provided by The Information Place, shows results
through clients who are quicker to pay their bills, Sawyer said. It
also enables the attorney to avoid problems created by clients
questioning work being done on a case and also increases cash flow by
25 to 45 percent.
Sawyer originally started the service on a limited basis while
going to graduate school but opened the service to the general public
in March 1985.
Because so many attorneys base decisions on precedence, Sawyer's
main business has been generated by referrals from existing clients.
From calls on three attorneys per week on the average, Sawyer said
she signs up at least one who agrees to utilize her service.
In many smaller firms, the client billing is not done or is done
incorrectly, Sawyer said.
"I was surprised at the number of attorneys that don't keep time
records, but they do bill by the hour," Sawyer said.
In other cases, they keep time but don't bill their clients on a
consistent basis according to a system.
In most small to medium sized law firms, the client billing falls
to a secretary who already has a heavy workload. In many instances,
billing is neglected in order to make time for other projects, Sawyer
"I have been in so many law firms and seen wasted dollars because
the systems are not there," she said. "The secretaries are busy with
other things and billing is pushed aside."
At the same time the attorney is not keeping adequate time records
and must try to recap everything he or she has done on a case for a
That alone can cause ethical problems for the attorney if the
client comes back to request details of the work done and how the
attorney's time was spent. …