My name is Brian Byrnes of Byrnes Law Office, LLC in Wisconsin. Like you, I’m a practicing attorney.

A few years ago, I left my lofty status as a shareholder in a larger firm — largely because it became clear to me that the economics of the practice of law were changing very, very rapidly, and due to the entrenched systems that were already in place for the firm, it was becoming harder and harder for it to be nimble enough to react to those changes.

I have always had a terrible tendency to not write down my time contemporaneously, and yes, I’ve come to learn the pain that goes along with not doing that. However, my old firm had processes in place to address that. But as a solo, I had to figure out to capture all my time lest my grand adventure fail before it could flourish.

Chrometa to the Rescue

In early 2010, after about eight months of solo practice, I read about Chrometa in TechnoLawyer and hopped on board with a free trial. I quickly became a customer.

It’s the best attorney time tracking software that I know of.

Almost immediately, Chrometa justified its existence (and cost), and it did so in three very profound ways:

1. Chrometa Eliminated Lost Billable Time

Chrometa showed me where I was spending my time so if I forgot to write something down, I could go back and see what I was doing, compare it to my calendar, and recreate the time I’d spent on a client’s file. This passive time capture dramatically reduced my tendency to under-estimate the time I’d spent on a file, and to bill accordingly. And like I said, Chrometa justified its cost almost immediately.

Chrometa essentially serves as a backup when for whatever reason I forget to write down any time. I can pull up Chrometa, and it will tell me what I was doing.

Watch this video to see what I mean.

2. Chrometa Eliminated Wasted Time 

Chrometa doesn’t play favorites. It showed me exactly what I was doing on my computer, even the things that I shouldn’t have been doing. How many times did I “sneak out” to check the status of my Fantasy Football team? How much time did I spend watching videos of cats playing pianos? How much time did I spent on Facebook? When faced with this information, I made fundamental changes to how I spent my time, which, in turn, has made a big difference in my bottom line as well.

3. Chrometa Enabled Me to Charge Flat Fees

Chrometa has been invaluable in helping me set up flat fee schedules for my work. Now that all of my time was being captured, I could go back and look at a number of files where the work I’d done was fairly routine and straightforward — and then set a fixed fee based on those reports.

There’s a collateral benefit to this as well, somewhat tied to the second benefit I pointed out — I was starting to see where my handling of a particular matter was inefficient — and then I could modify the process accordingly.

Chrometa’s Key Improvements and Technical Support

Considering that Chrometa hasn’t been around all that long, it warrants mentioning that the product has developed significantly over its life, in particular making it even more useful to me as a solo. For me, the two biggest developments were:

1. Moving Chrometa to the cloud.

2. Setting up integrations with commonly used legal billing software, including:

  • QuickBooks
  • Clio
  • Rocket Matter
  • PCLaw
  • Timeslips

Moreover, CEO Brett and his team have been very responsive on technical issues as well. When you consider that this is a product that can be deployed over both Mac and PC platforms, and is designed to integrate with other software (i.e. billing software) as noted above there are going to be hiccups from time to time — but when I’ve had them, not only were they minor, but the tech support team resolved them very quickly.

Calling All Attorneys: Chrometa Is a Must

It isn’t a surprise that the traditional methods of practicing law and managing a law firm are progressing, but it is very interesting how technology has both responded to these changes — especially for the benefit of solos.

With the difference that Chrometa has made in my practice, not only did it justify its expense, but it has reinforced (and enhanced!) my decision to strike out on my own — and for that, Chrometa should be considered a “must have” piece of software for any solo.

Don’t waste another minute of billable time — start capturing it automatically with Chrometa now.

PS: Don’t forget to watch Brett’s “on-demand” product demonstration here.

Very truly yours,

Brian D. Byrnes