As a paralegal, you spend countless hours doing research, preparing legal documents, and interacting with the opposing counsel.
But all this effort is in vain if you do not keep track of your billable work hours.
Fortunately, you can use a paralegal timesheet template to document your working hours and ensure accurate and quick payment for any legal service.
In this article, we’ll give you three handy paralegal timesheet templates you can download and use today. We’ll also explain what paralegal timesheets are, their pros and cons, and an efficient alternative to manual timesheets.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- 3 Handy Paralegal Timesheet Templates
- What is a Paralegal Timesheet?
- 3 Advantages of Using a Paralegal Timesheet Template
- 3 Disadvantages of Using a Paralegal Timesheet Template
- Keep Track of Your Paralegal Work Hours With Time Doctor
Let’s get started!
3 handy paralegal timesheet templates
A timesheet is a spreadsheet containing an employee’s working hours for a particular period. Paralegals can use it to log their time entries, document every billable hour, and get timely payments.
Note: If you want a better understanding of paralegal timesheets, jump ahead to this section. After that, you can scroll back here to download the required templates.
Here are three paralegal timesheet templates that can help you keep track of your paralegal working hours.
You can download these for free in a printable PDF format or in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Microsoft Excel formats.
Additionally, you can choose from the weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly templates, depending on your company and clients’ pay periods.
1. Weekly paralegal timesheet template
A weekly timesheet tracks a paralegal’s weekly working hours. This weekly timesheet template is helpful if your clients prefer to pay you every week.
2. Bi-weekly paralegal timesheet template
A bi-weekly timesheet is a time tracking template for calculating a paralegal’s work hours over two weeks. This billable hours template is especially useful if your firm’s payroll runs every two weeks.
3. Monthly paralegal timesheet template
Monthly timesheets track a paralegal’s total working hours over an entire month. This template makes month-end invoicing for paralegals a breeze.
Now that we have explored some useful paralegal timesheet templates, let’s discuss these timesheets in more detail.
What is a paralegal timesheet?
A paralegal timesheet is a manual record of the total time paralegals spend on different tasks and activities for a particular client.
From major tasks like drafting legal documents to miscellaneous tasks like setting up an attorney’s appointment, paralegals can create a timesheet to track billable hours accurately.
Just like an attorney timesheet template, it helps you document your time entries and hourly rate to calculate the total amount your client owes you at the end of a specific period.
Moreover, a billable hours template acts like a log book that helps you establish trust and transparency by keeping your clients informed about what they’re being charged for.
Additionally, every invoice template is easy to customize, and you can use it to prepare timesheets based on your paralegal work for the clients of your law firm. Timesheets are especially useful if you work at a large firm that needs to keep an eye on a myriad of client billing and employee time log data.
Let’s now check out the top advantages of using these timesheet templates.
3 advantages of using a paralegal timesheet template
Here are the three benefits of using a paralegal timesheet template:
1. Validates your hard work
It’s quite common for an attorney to have multiple paralegals assisting them on high-profile cases and legal pleadings. And the attorney timesheet is a credible way to analyze how much time and effort a paralegal puts into a particular case.
For example, daily timesheets reflect how much time you’ve spent on legal research, fact-checking, and performing other significant paralegal duties.
This way, you’ll be recognized for your performance as tracking billable hours makes it easier for your supervisors to evaluate your performance.
2. Keeps your client in the loop
Since an invoice template contains details of all the tasks you’ve completed for your client, both you and your clients will have a clear picture of the billable hours.
Additionally, a billable hours template lets the client see the latest updates and progress in their case and whether the attorney fees are justified. As a result, there’s less back-and-forth between the lawyer and the client.
Moreover, tracking billable hours and sharing accurate timesheets with your client will ensure there’s no delay in your payments.
3. Costs you next to nothing
Although managing timesheets can feel like a tedious process, they can still save you and the firm you’re working for a considerable amount of money.
With a timesheet template, a paralegal or junior lawyer can track billable hours, edit and reuse the template without creating a new one from scratch.
Additionally, a billable hours timesheet template is a cheaper alternative to biometric time clocks and manual punch-in systems that have expensive installation and maintenance costs.
However, there are also certain challenges that you may face when using a manual attorney billable hours template.
So before you make the final call on paralegal timesheets, you may want to go over the major disadvantages of manual timesheets.
3 disadvantages of using a paralegal timesheet template
Here are the three significant problems with using a paralegal timesheet template:
1. Tons of miscalculations
Paper or spreadsheet-based timesheets are manually managed and maintained. As a result, there’s always the risk of error, especially because you’re constantly preoccupied with legal research and other litigation work.
Even a single-digit error can lead to client conflicts, delayed transactions, or a damaged reputation for the firm you’re associated with.
So even though the timesheet template can fast-track the billing process, it’s not always free of errors.
As a result, you may have to take the help of a colleague to examine your timesheet for any miscalculations. However, this becomes problematic when the fellow employee has to fill up and submit their timesheet too and may have other law firm tasks.
2. Inconsistent payments
Besides the issue of miscalculations, sometimes you may forget to enter a task in the timesheets. Consequently, the billable hour for this task won’t appear in the client’s invoice either.
And when you fail to mention the exact billable hours of any task, you stand to lose a substantial amount of money at the end of the month. On top of that, it can bring down your client’s profit margins and affect your morale at work.
So unless you can present your clients with accurate time entries and the exact hourly rate, timesheets can lead to inconsistent payments.
3. Time consuming
Updating billing worksheets can be a tiresome task, especially after spending hours preparing legal documents.
As a result, filling in a timesheet with exact time entries, task notes, client’s name, and other details can sometimes prove more challenging than the task itself.
The truth is that a timesheet template lacks automation, which can substantially decrease the time you spend on invoicing or block billing.
Moreover, the process becomes more complex as you acquire more clients, your workload increases, and so does the number of timesheets. As a result, you might need a time tracking spreadsheet alternative that can help you streamline timesheet management.
Fortunately, there’s a smart alternative to using a manual attorney timesheet.
Keep track of your paralegal work hours with Time Doctor
Your billable hours serve as hard evidence for your law firm and clients on how much time you spent working for them and how much they owe you for that hard work.
That’s why you need an efficient system to track your work hours accurately.
To do this, you need to rely on a solution more powerful than the manual paralegal or attorney timesheet template – online timesheet software.
With an online timesheet tool like Time Doctor, you can save more time and get an idea of:
- Your workload.
- How much time you spend on legal research and other tasks.
- Client billing and monthly payrolls.
What is Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful time management tool that lets you track your paralegal work hours to improve productivity. This robust time tracking app is used by large enterprises like Verizon, as well as small businesses, like Thrive Market, to boost organizational efficiency.
Here’s how Time Doctor can help legal professionals overcome the challenges of manual timesheets like Excel spreadsheets:
A. Track work hours accurately
Time Doctor helps you track billable hours down to the second. It can track every paralegal’s time and help you create the perfect client invoices.
You can also use this app to assess if you’ve reached the minimum billable hours requirement.
As a paralegal or junior lawyer, you can use Time Doctor’s manual or automatic time tracking feature to track your work hours across multiple legal cases.
Here are the steps to use the manual/interactive mode:
- Enter your task name in the Time Doctor app (it can be anything like investigating facts, meeting clients, preparing legal drafts, etc.)
- Press Start to start tracking your time.
- Hit Stop when the task is complete, or you want to take a break.
- You can repeat the above-mentioned steps when you want to track time for another task.
The automatic time tracking mode comes with an added advantage. Here, the timer starts as soon as the paralegal turns on their computer. This enables them to focus on their work instead of worrying about starting or stopping the timer.
Moreover, a timekeeping software like Time Doctor is unquestionably more reliable than a paper timesheet as it’s a digital system that prevents human error.
Note: Time Doctor won’t track anything on your computer once the timer stops. As a result, paralegals won’t have to deal with any privacy or legal issues that are sometimes associated with time tracking.
B. Generate productivity reports
Time Doctor also lets any attorney evaluate their paralegal’s performance with its detailed reports. These reports give your supervisors real-time insights on your productivity and the billable hours vs. non billable hours.
Here’s a list of Time Doctor’s productivity reports:
- Activity summary report: Gives an idea of the paralegals’ active minutes and seconds, unproductive time, manually-added time, and mobile-tracked time over a specific time period.
- Timeline report: Generates daily and weekly reports on any paralegal’s working hours. This report also includes the start and end times of every task.
- Web and app usage report: Checks the time paralegals spend on different websites and apps to assess their productivity.
- Projects and tasks report: Gives an idea of the time paralegals spend on various legal tasks associated with different clients and cases (projects).
- Hours tracked report: Calculates the total number of hours the paralegals clocked in a day, week, or another given period.
C. Simplify payroll management
Time Doctor makes invoice generation a total breeze for any attorney, from tracking time to reviewing timesheets to approving payroll.
Paralegals can receive timely payments with Time Doctor’s timesheets and payroll integration.
Here are the steps to set up the Payroll Management feature in Time Doctor:
- Enable Payroll from the Company Settings tab.
- Enable Integrated payment methods like PayPal, Wise, or Payoneer.
- Select the paralegals you want to integrate into the payroll.
- Specify the date range (weekly, monthly, or otherwise) for the payroll.
- Select the currency in which you want the paralegal to receive the payment.
- Enter the payroll amount.
- Finally, select your preferred payment method.
Additionally, you can always export the payroll as a CSV file and upload it directly to a payment platform of your choice. This way, you’ll never run the risk of generating any inaccurate invoice!
D. Integrate with different apps
Time Doctor also offers powerful integrations with more than 50 apps, including project management tools (Asana, Jira), CRMs (Zoho, HubSpot), accounting software (QuickBooks, FreshBooks), and much more.
This way, any paralegal and attorney can use Time Doctor to track their work hour data on their preferred tools without switching between apps.
There’s no doubt that timesheets can help paralegals keep track of their tasks and manage client or law firm billing.
However, a manual timesheet template isn’t always reliable.
Paralegals have a jam-packed schedule, and sometimes data can be omitted from the paralegal timesheet, leading to incorrect billable work hours and decreased profit levels for the law firm.
If you want a reliable solution, consider an efficient timekeeping software like Time Doctor.
Besides helping you track the exact billable time, the tool lets you stay efficient and reduce time wastage so you can grow by leaps and bounds in your career.
Sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day free trial today to track your paralegal work hours and tasks hassle-free!
Carlo Borja is the Head of Online Marketing for Time Doctor, a time tracking software for remote teams. He is a full-time telecommuter, a digital nomad and a coffee junkie.