The frustrations of paper

There is only one thing that I have any complaints about with my current job. Which is entirely my fault, but it’s one of those things where I can easily pretend that any shortcomings I face would be corrected with technology. You see, most attorneys in private practice bill time. Almost all attorneys now have a software program that manages your time entries for you, so that you can easily bill clients for the work you do on their case. My office has such a software program.

However, we start out by billing our time on paper. So every day/week I sit down and write out my fee entries on a paper spreadsheet and explain what I did during that time. Then our secretary enters the time entries. This is good for a few reasons – it puts some control in the system – I can’t enter "telephone call with Mr. Smith". If I write that down on a piece of paper, our secretary hunts me down and demands to know what that call was regarding before she enters it.

The downside is that paper is falliable. It gets lost and it also allows for an awful lot of human error. Sometimes I put the Personal Representative’s name down instead of the name of the Estate, and our secretary wants to know who Mr. Brown is and I have to tell her that no, I actually meant Mr. Green. Sometimes I do not hand the secretary the time sheet right away, and so am handing her time entries from a month ago. And well, this is embarrassing to admit, but sometimes I write the date down wrong. Not just the date, but the year. I have, upon occasion, handed the secretary a full sheet of billed time which is billed for the month of November and not December. I have also handed her a sheet which is billed for the year of 2011.

We all have trouble adjusting to the fact that it is February not January and 2012 and not 2011. I know I am not alone. It is a problem though, so I’m looking for ways to correct it. The obvious way is to do my own billing using the computer program, but that is not an option, for multiple reasons. How do I keep myself from mindlessly writing in the date and putting in the wrong one? I do not always write out my billing spreadsheets in the same place, or some kind of desk calendar would be the answer (do they make ones that have the month and year in huge letters? I usually know the day date.) We do have a date stamp, so while excessive, that might be an option. Anyone have any other suggestions? Please do not suggest an Alzheimer’s clock, that’s just mean.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The frustrations of paper

  1. Jo

    Could you do it in an Excel spreadsheet that you print instead of something that you handwrite?

  2. Yeah, Jo read my mind.

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