Keeping track of your time is one of the most important tasks that you do in a law office. And sadly, one of the most neglected. Trust me, I've been there. I have waited for six months before I tried to recreate my time for a our billing software. Once I worked for a law firm that traded you your paycheck for your weekly timesheets. Of course that worked. I thought that was a brilliant idea. Kudos to that accounting deparment.
There are lots of good reasons for keeping accurate track of your time. One of them being its how your firm makes money. Whether you work on the plaintiffs side or the defense side your firm makes money based on your efforts and work. Its very simple. If you don't work the firm doesn't make money. OK so lets assume we're all working...and working hard. Your firm will see the finished work product you produce but how does the firm or even your attorney know HOW much time and effort was put in to a project? They don't! Unless you keep accurate time records.
You need to keep track of your time as you work. A daily time sheet is best. I have included a link to one that you may find helpful.
In addition to helping your firm make money a timesheet can help you make money too, by accurately detailing what you do. Its always nice to be able to go in to a review knowing what you did during the past year and what you contributed. If your firm doesn't keep track of billable hours you can still do it on your own. I know, you're saying to yourself "I'd rather not, but thanks for asking." Just keep in mind that there is no other accurate way to really see what you do and quantify your value. Its also a great way to see where you are wasting time, or where you could use your time more wisely or where your firm could redistribute work for the best productivity.
The bottom line is if your firm isn't making money, neither will you. By keeping timesheets you'll be able to be much more productive and valuable.