Author: Jane A. Bennitt

Pandemic Update

While the pandemic impacts businesses around the world, we are fortunate to have work underway and have not closed our doors.
Our best wishes for good health for you, your families and friends, and our thanks to all who continue to provide essential services and medical care during this time.
Please stay home to flatten the curve, wear masks if you need to go out and wash your hands!

 

New LEDES Standards

The LEDES Oversight Committee has ratified new standards for legal ebilling and I had the honor of leading the development effort. There were some basic changes:

  • Increased the size of the invoice number and to increase the number of decimal columns for the tax rate (LEDES 99BI, XML 2.0, XML 2.1)
  • Added a data element for the CTC tax authority invoice reference number and to clarify other fields where we have noted confusion (XML 2.0, XML 2.1)
  • Moved the math statement to a separate tab and clarified math references (XML 2.1)
  • Created functionality to support tiered taxes (new format XML 2.2)

The new formats are available on LEDES.org.

Awards??

This year I began to receive notices of awards from numerous legal publications. The offers were remarkably similar, all notifying me that I had been nominated by my peers in legal for a prestigious award and was a finalist based on recent voting. Some of the awards received so far this year include:

  • Finance Monthly’s Legal Awards Global Award 2019.
  • CIO Application’s Magazine’s Top 10 Legal Tech Consulting/Services Companies 2019
  • Lawyer Monthly’s Women in Law Awards for 2019
  • and then again Finance Monthly’s Global Award 2019.

And this doesn’t include the number that I deleted before I started saving my “Award” notifications. I think my favorite early honor was one that named me as a top lawyer. I corrected them several times that I was not a J.D., but apparently that wasn’t enough to disqualify me from the award.

Each of these honors required a fee to be interviewed and for the printing, shipping, etc. of the award. So my question is this: Who pays for an award?

Recently Forbes Magazine published an article on top corporate law firms in the Americas, which can be found here.  I believe I have finally found an award I can respect.  At the bottom of the page you will see the following note:  “Companies do not pay a fee for placement on the list, which is independently determined by Forbes.”   My congratulations to all who were honored on the Forbes list and to Forbes for their methodology and process.

LEDES Ebilling Format Changes

I have been leading the Tax Accommodation Subcommittee for the LEDES Oversight Committee for the last year, spearheading changes to the global ebilling formats for two projects:
Project 1: Accommodating a greater number of cursor columns to the right of the decimal separator for the tax rate only. These proposed changes impact LEDES 98BI and XML Ebilling 2.0 and 2.1.
Project 2: New functionality to accommodate Tiered Taxes. The changes required are extensive and result in the creation of LEDES XML Ebilling 2.2. The proposed solution adds 2 new segments and 13 data elements to the file and significantly changes the invoice math statement.
You can access the proposed changes and feedback survey through https://ledes.org/proposed-standards-requiring-public-comment/, which page includes a link for providing public feedback on the proposed standards. The public comment period will remain open until 8 September, 2019.

Acquisitions and New Offerings

It is conference season and with that comes news of acquisitions and new products.

Wolters Kluwer ELM has acquired CLM Matrix, a contract management platform, filling in a gap in their product offering.

Onit has acquired SimpleLegal, a law department-focused ELM system.

Also in the news is a new law firm billing program, Accurate Legal Billing. It is in the vein of other systems recently in the news that purports to produce bills that comply with client guidelines.

Look on our Law Department and Law Firm Resource Room pages for links to each of these products

Law Firm Billing – New Features

There is a new trend in law firm billing: functionality to check compliance with a client’s outside counsel guidelines.

As law firm ebilling professionals can attest, it is virtually impossible to remember all of a client’s billing requirements, especially when law departments that don’t require ebilling also issue billing guidelines.

This new feature allows firms to capture quantifiable client requirements so that the system can validate line items at the point of entry for compliance. The idea is to mimic the functionality provided in law department ebilling systems that test time entries so that law firms are more likely to submit a compliant invoice on their first submission.

While the structure and composition of a time or expense entry is the focus of many rules, others look at the invoice structure and other aspects (like rates and budgets) which are not available to the law firm at the point of time entry.

Nonetheless, this is a great new feature that law firms should look for when shopping for tools.