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Tech Review

The Chrometa’s Running: Upgrades Aplenty for Time-Tracking App

By Jared Correia

Chrometa is a background timekeeping application popular with attorneys. For lawyers who think it’s a drag to start and stop a timer, and find it nearly impossible to capture their hours contemporaneously, a product like Chrometa—which will automatically and intelligently create a log of your computer time—can be a godsend, as it potentially makes time tracking a far more palatable endeavor.

Though I’ve previously offered my thoughts on background timekeeping and some primary programs in that space, Chrometa has made enough significant updates since then to merit its own product review update. This is not the first time I’ve written about Chrometa. I published a general review of the product, as well as an original product update, when Chrometa morphed from desktop application to web app. More recently, we covered Chrometa’s new partnerships with both Clio and Rocket Matter.

So, what’s new? A hat trick of essential upgrades.

Timesheets on the Fly

Probably the most significant update to Chrometa is the new Timesheets interface. It allows users to create timesheets on the fly from “computer time” (captured, active intervals you spend on your devices running Chrometa) and “away time” (periods of inactivity on your devices running Chrometa, which may be tagged or not). Chrometa CEO Brett Owens explains it all in this video demo—but don’t sleep on the rest of the information on that page. What makes the new Timesheets interface an improvement over prior iterations of Chrometa is its intuitiveness and ease of use—it’s quite slick.

As Brett describes it, it’s a method to “roll-up and round-up” your time. You can assign time entries to clients or projects, and the aggregated inputs will round up to your pre-set billing increment. (Another welcome change: Chrometa had previously tracked minutes and seconds, but seconds are largely extraneous to lawyers, who bill, on the micro level, at a baseline of six-minute intervals. Now the system will round up to the nearest minute or pre-set time increment.)

After you’ve captured and categorized the time, there are a number of things you can do with it, direct from the Timesheets menu. For example, you can export to Excel, export to an invoice, create a printable version or export to a third-party platform, including Chrometa partners Clio, Rocket Matter and Basecamp.

Notice the fictional entity for which Brett is creating billing entries in his demo? (I’m gonna hire you as my latex salesman?)

Progress on the Mobility Front: iPhone and Android Apps

Originally, Chrometa moved from a desktop application to a device-independent app. Now comes the smartphone integration. Chrometa’s new Android and iPhone apps (sorry, no love for BlackBerry, Palm or Zack Morris cell phones) make it easier than ever to track phone calls. That’s becoming more important, especially in an environment in which a number of solo and small firm attorneys only use smartphones, or use their smartphones more often than landline office phones. With the new app, phone call times are tracked automatically. If you’ve already established a filing rule for certain phone numbers, the call will be auto-categorized, too. Plus, it can pull contact names from your Google account.

Chrometa has become a useful tool for a number of lawyers who have sought a more-automated method for keeping their time. If you’re interested and would like to try it out for yourself, Chrometa offers a free 14-day trial. Testing Chrometa is a useful exercise, if for no other reason than to find out where your time goes every day, as Lee Rosen has written, here. I mean, don’t you think your YouTube habit is sort of getting out of hand?

Jared Correia is Senior Law Practice Advisor at the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program. Prior to joining LOMAP, he was the Publications Attorney for the Massachusetts Bar Association. Before that, he worked as a private practice lawyer.  Jared is the author of the new ABA book Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers.

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Jared Correia

Jared Correia is CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business management consulting and technology services for solo and small law firms. Red Cave also works with legal institutions and legal-facing corporations to develop programming and content. A former practicing attorney, Jared is a popular presenter and regular contributor to legal publications (including his “Managing” column for Attorney at Work). He is author of the ABA book “Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers,” hosts the Legal Toolkit podcast, and teaches for Concord Law School and Suffolk University Law School. He loves James Taylor, but respects Ron Swanson.

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