Billing guidelines are rules that outside counsel must follow with regard to what they can and cannot invoice a client for. They set clear expectations on how firms and clients work together and may vary between business units, law firms and matters. Without electronic billing (e-Billing software), guidelines are practically impossible to accurately monitor. Law firms are violating these rules more often than one would expect. This is unintentional of course; it’s hard to remember multiple guidelines from various clients across many matters. With neither the in-house team nor outside counsel doing thorough checks, the reality is that firms end up billing clients for items they weren’t supposed to.
HOW (AND WHY!) TO USE, WRITE AND AUTOMATE LEGAL BILLING RULES
If you’re just getting started with e-Billing, now is the perfect time to review your billing guidelines with your firms (if you’re a BusyLamp customer, we’ll help you do this). If you’re not yet using e-Billing then you should consider doing so. The ability to enforce outside counsel guidelines is one of the main reasons legal departments implement spend management systems – capturing erroneous billing saves you about 5% on your external legal spend in year one, and 2.5% in subsequent years.