Over the years I have had hundreds of conversations with people on issues with electronic billing. As President of the LEDES Oversight Committee, a standards organization, I have been at a loss on how to respond to the suggestion that the LOC should force compliance with standards. In these conversations the third party ebilling vendors often are portrayed as the villain, but I know they agree that using un-customized standards is preferable. Yet I understand how difficult it is for law firms required to ebill to juggle all of the crazy custom requirements against workflow and the limited window during which invoices can be submitted.
In one Monday ILTA session it was stated that the LOC needs to (1) work towards making all ebilling standards available in all third party vendor systems, and (2) sway public opinion against customization.
I believe I’ve reached a tipping point in this discussion.
At the mid-year LEDES Oversight Committee members meeting, I declared that it is time to disrupt the ebilling status quo.
The LOC Board of Directors will establish a framework to gather information on the “issues” and we will then form groups to address as many of these that we can. We need volunteers on several levels.
- To create a survey and evaluate the issues articulated
- To brainstorm on solutions to fix these issues and, where appropriate, create subcommittees to update or create new standards
- To flood legal publications with articles about how customization has made ebilling unmanageable
- To organize an effort to create demand to get vendors to accept all of the LEDES standards
Actually, we already have started. One current initiative is to standardize the error messages returned by the third party systems so that users understand the error and how to correct it, as well as to create a format for the download of this type of information from the system to the party submitting ebills. Another initiative is investigating how the various systems handle taxes and rounding issues and, once this is understood, will consider alternatives to standardize the process.
This initiative is open to members of the LEDES Oversight Committee. If you are willing to participate in disrupting the status quo, Contact the LOC to volunteer. If you’re not already a member, join the LOC. At $95/year, it is the best association value in legal!