A drawback of internal time tracking that asks lawyers to enter how many hours they worked on a matter is padding. Inevitably and inexorably, unless a client is charged for the time and therefore brings some market discipline to the exercise, lawyers are seduced into bulking up their hour totals. Feeling competitive, wanting to show their contribution, knowing busy lawyers are perceived as good lawyers in demand, everyone inflates their time.
If, however, you take a different approach and ask timekeepers to put down the percentage of their total time for a week they spent on a matter, then you normalize everyone’s time. The 60-hour a week lawyer looks the same as the 40-hour a week lawyer because they both record 30 percent of their time during the week on the matter they worked on the most.
Obviously, you lose the granularity of actual hours worked, but query whether that seemingly more specific data suffers too much from the risk of manipulation.