How Krieg DeVault Drives Firm-Wide Mobile Time Entry Adoption

About Krieg DeVault

Krieg DeVault LLP is a 150-professional, business-focused law firm representing a wide variety of local, regional and national clients with offices in Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, Minnesota, and Florida. The firm’s attorneys have significant experience in key areas that address the needs of a diversified client base.

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Global law firm taps into the competitive nature of attorneys to drive accuracy and compliance in timekeeping.

The Challenge

Indianapolis law firm, Krieg DeVault needed more time entry options for its attorneys. Given the amount of time spent outside of the office, attorneys were requesting a simple and easy-to-use solution that would allow them to enter their time as work was completed. Chief Information Officer (CIO), George Smith, championed iTimeKeep as the answer to the firm’s needs – a mobile time entry solution that would provide attorneys with the timekeeping options that they desired, while allowing the firm to experience the many benefits of contemporaneous time entry.

After a successful pilot and rollout to a group of attorneys, Krieg DeVault purchased the iTimeKeep Site License in order to make mobile time entry available to all attorneys at the firm.

Shortly after mobile time entry access was launched firm-wide, Smith conducted an analysis of the firm’s timekeeping reports and analytics. His data revealed several opportunities for the firm to leverage the mobile and browser-based timekeeping solution. However, this would require a significant change in behavior.

As far as technology goes, mobility has the starring role in our work and personal lives. While this has been the case for almost a decade, the implementation of iTimeKeep provided the first opportunity for attorneys to enter their time while out of the office. Historically speaking, Krieg DeVault’s time entry process was similar to that of most large firms: it relied on legal assistants to enter attorneys’ time into the time & billing system. Since attorneys had never been asked to enter their own time, the introduction of a mobile time entry solution also required a change in mindset, which would drive new habits and behaviors.

Smith met with the firm’s partners to discuss how to encourage attorneys to enter their own time using mobile time entry.  Attorneys had been requesting a mobile time entry solution for quite some time, so there was a demand for it. However, as many of us know, theory and practice are two different things. Ultimately, the debate boiled down to attorney habits and firm policies around timekeeping. Understanding that attorneys have approached timekeeping the same way for many years (in some cases, decades), Smith wondered, “Is it truly possible for attorneys to change their bad habits?”

Why yes, he decided, they most certainly can.

At Bellefield, we believe that “Excellence comes by doing.” We are fearless advocates of the idea that true excellence in timekeeping begins with a change in attorney habits.

With this understanding, Smith was convinced that Bellefield and iTimeKeep could help to initiate a shift in attorney habits at Krieg DeVault.

How Krieg DeVault Leveraged the Competitive Advantage of Attorneys to Change Timekeeping Habits

New technology adoption is a challenge faced by mostly every law firm. This is especially true when that technology will land in the hands of attorneys. What is the reason for this? Adoption is driven by a need for change:  a shift in habits. Understanding this, Krieg DeVault took a creative approach to encourage attorneys to develop new time entry habits. In order to facilitate this change, Smith launched an incentive program to maximize iTimeKeep usage at Krieg DeVault.

Why use incentives? It is Smith’s belief that positive reinforcement can drive positive change in habit. According to recent research, he is right: small positive interventions create sustainable, long-term change at work.

Working together with the Customer Success Management team at Bellefield, the first engagement program launched in June 2014. Krieg DeVault offered incentives to winners in multiple categories. This was intended to encourage usage among both new and existing users at the firm. Awards were given for the following:

  • Most hours entered via iTimekeep.
  • Largest increase in hours using iTimekeep.
  • Top three iTimeKeepers, determined by the percentage change
    from time entered the previous month.

Winners were awarded $25 gift cards to Starbucks Coffee, a relatively small prize considering the earning potential of attorneys. However, Smith knew that it wasn’t the prize that would motivate attorneys, but rather the recognition and the ability to say “I’m the winner.”

Attorneys were notified of the promotion via email. Soon after the contest announcement, buzz began to circulate around the firm. Attorneys talked amongst themselves about the competition, proclaiming their intentions to win.

The end-of-month results were astounding. The firm’s users increased by 233%, as a result of the program. The total hours entered via iTimeKeep increased by 434% from May to June. “One of our partners, who had used iTimekeep to enter four hours per month on average, was so motivated to win the competition that he entered 130 hours in the month of June,” said Smith. The results were announced via email, as public recognition was part of the reward.

The benefits lasted beyond the initial contest period. “The real success of the program was evident in July, when attorneys continued entering their own time without the motivation of a contest or promotion,” said Smith.

Rewarding Time Entry Policies Lead to Lasting Change

Given the success of the program, why not repeat it monthly in order to continually motivate attorneys to enter their time? It turned out, that wasn’t exactly what Smith was after. Smith’s true goal was to initiate a shift in attorney habits in regards to timekeeping. “This initiative was not about the promotion or the competition,” said Smith, “It was about developing a new habit.”

Therefore, Smith decided that he would continue to offer promotions periodically throughout the year, but that they would not be offered in a predictable way, in terms of timing and structure. A second promotion was offered during the month of September, incentivizing attorneys to enter time and recruit new users. The reward structure differed from the initial promotion, encouraging attorneys to enter as many hours as possible and recruit their peers as new users.

This allowed Smith to use the contests to motivate attorneys to develop their own positive timekeeping habits. While users and usage spiked during the months that promotions were offered, the overall number of users and hours entered had increased steadily since beginning the program. Therefore, Smith was able to conclude that several attorneys at the firm had developed better and more consistent timekeeping habits.

Conclusion

While many firms continue attempts at enforcing antiquated time entry policies, Krieg DeVault took an innovative approach that paid off.  New habit formation through positive incentives increased technology adoption throughout the entire firm.

Although each law firm is different, attorneys share similar traits. Krieg DeVault understands the competitive nature of attorneys, which was put to good use in .giving timekeeping a tangible purpose.

In the wise words of Psychologist and Author of the best-seller The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, “Even the smallest shot of positivity can give someone a serious competitive edge.”