Enterprise Legal Management Software and Legal Bill Review

December 14, 2023

Ever-evolving technology permeates our daily lives, and the legal industry is no exception. Companies are always looking for ways to improve their bottom lines by shifting resources, reducing costs/risks, and increasing efficiency. Legal technology is one area that continues to expand and evolve with the times even when the law itself is slow to catch up. Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) software provides companies with a framework to handle various aspects of their legal business to improve overall processes and workflow. Several versatile and user-friendly ELM solutions are currently available on the market that can meet company specific needs. For the solutions and efficiency ELM provides, it can be a worthwhile low-cost investment. As companies continuously look to rein in and reduce legal spend, use of ELM software has become a necessity to handle ever rising litigation management costs.

One category of ELM is legal e-billing and spend management. Automating the billing process can be beneficial to both clients and firms. A transparent and efficient billing process will help firms adhere to proper billing practices, encourage compliance, and allow for faster approval and payment of their invoices. E-billing will either validate or reject invoices for budget compliance. Automation with pre-set parameters can be used to scan and flag initial non-compliant billing entries or rates and adjust the entries as needed. Requiring electronic invoices in the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) format and use of ABA Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) codes allows for the tracking and categorization of legal tasks and expenses. Companies will also be able to gain better insight into cost effective strategies through scalable metrics that will enable better decision-making and reporting.

ELM software allows legal auditors to handle the legal bill review, which will lessen the burden on corporate legal departments and claims adjusters. Automating the billing process can be beneficial to both clients and firms.

A strong and clear set of company litigation management guidelines will help lay the foundation for proper billing practices. The guidelines are a way for companies to communicate their needs and expectations regarding how cases should be handled. Everything from the initial case assessment to proper staffing, frequency of reporting, billing structure and a comprehensive list of billable and non-billable fees and costs are some of the areas that should be included in the guidelines.

To help ensure compliance with billing guidelines, licensed attorney auditors should perform a line-item legal bill review. As helpful as automation is, the process still cannot account for all nuances in legal invoices. E-billing paired with legal bill review performed by experienced licensed attorney auditors can help companies meet their needs and efficiently reduce legal costs. Auditors will review the legal bills for reasonableness and compliance based on established guidelines. The auditors will then be able to recommend suggested payment amounts after deductions, issue spot and provide valuable feedback. Firms will be able to gain a better understanding as to why certain entries in their invoices were deducted as non-compliant. The appeal process can also be streamlined to ensure a fair review of disputed deductions and recommend additional payment, if necessary.

Allowing legal auditors to handle the legal bill review will lessen the burden on corporate legal departments and claims adjusters. Companies and their counsel need not worry about fracturing their relationships, as legal bill review is another essential tool in meeting the same business goals. Legal bill review can help establish clear communication and increase compliance, productivity, and efficiency. The overall savings/value produced from implementing legal bill review can lead to effective litigation management strategy and successful outcomes. Having a team of auditors who understand the complexity, scope and context of the legal issues presented can help ensure legal bills are accurate and compliant.

Additional Articles

May 29, 2024

Engaging Counsel without the Benefit of Billing Guidelines – an Invitation to Conflict?

For decades, Alan Gray’s staff have drafted legal billing guidelines or suggested effective modifications for our clients. Without concise rules for billing, a client is limited in their expectation for billing compliance and clarity.

May 22, 2024

Volunteer Day with Cradles to Crayons

April was National Volunteer Month, and Alan Gray and A.G. Risk Management (AGRM)..

March 28, 2024

Alan Gray Product Highlight: The Benefits of SIMS Web-Based e-Billing

Alan Gray’s Smart Invoice Management System, or “SIMS,” has been thoughtfully developed.