Category: LEDES Oversight Committee

Pertaining to the LEDES Oversight Committee, the global organization that sets the standards for legal electronic data exchange

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.

LOC Survey to Support Disrupting EB Status Quo Campaign

The LEDES Oversight Committee has launched a survey to identify ebilling issues as part of our “Disrupting the Ebilling Status Quo” campaign started last August. Our plan is to identify issues that can be “fixed” by the LOC. Follow-up may include: offering training programs; possibly retiring or updating existing standards or creating new standards; and writing about best practices and best of breed features to create demand for better solutions. For more information on the survey and our Disrupting the Ebilling Status Quo campaign, please go to www.LEDES.org.

It’s LegalTech Time Again

It’s time again for Legal Tech, this year January 31st through February 2nd at the New York Hilton.  GLE will again be at the show, with Jane A. Bennitt scheduled to host the LEDES Oversight Committee annual member’s meeting that Tuesday morning at 9:00.

The show either is being rebranded or is affiliating with the name LegalWeek, which will be difficult for most of us veterans who have attended since the beginning of the conference to commit to memory.

See you at the conference!

Disrupting Ebilling Status Quo

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!

 

GLE Founder to Speak at ILTACon 2016

Global Legal Ebilling founder Jane A. Bennitt will be at the ILTA Educational Conference at the end of August and will chair two session on Thursday September 1st:  the LEDES Oversight Committee Members Meeting, which will be held from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., and Why UTBMS Codes Aren’t a Waste of Time:  A Panel Discussion, which will be held from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  We look forward to seeing you at ILTACon!

On My Departure from the LEDES Board

This was distributed last week to LEDES members regarding my decision to not run for the LEDES board in 2014:

“… After leading this organization since 2006, I decided not to run for the Board  again this year.    The principal reason is a rule in our by-laws that states that, after the maximum number of consecutive years of service, a Board member must drop off the Board and is not eligible to rerun for a 2 year period.  Although I have not reached my maximum number of years of service, if I choose not to run this year, I will be eligible to rerun again next year.  I believe any rule that limits the participation of members in a voluntary organization is arbitrary and ridiculous especially at a time when the ability of members to volunteer is so limited.  Nonetheless, instead of attempting to change the rule for my own purposes, I have chosen to follow it.

During my tenure as President both the organization and our discipline have evolved significantly.  The LEDES ebilling standards are now globally recognized as industry-specific EDI standards for electronic invoicing.  This is a really big deal!   The LOC leads the industry in creating and updating UTBMS standards, with the release of the Patent, Trademark, revised Project, eDiscovery, revised Activity and Expense codes and with two other UTBMS projects underway.  We established utbms.com as the definitive resource for finding information on all known UTBMS standards, and added the ability to “Contact LEDES” or “Contact UTBMS” on our web sites.  Participation by the LOC has been sought in a number of global and industry-wide efforts, most notably the Jackson project in the UK.

I am immensely proud of the achievements of this organization and believe our success is based on three things.  One of the basic tenets of the organization is that no single constituency within our membership drives the conversation in the creation of standards, each perspective is given equal voice.   This, coupled with the  independence of the organization as a standards body, gives us credibility.   Lastly, our success is due to the members who volunteer their time and expertise in participating in our efforts and let us know about initiatives under consideration by other organizations and get us a seat at the table.

I have been fortunate to meet and work with many of you during my period of leadership.  I want to thank you for your generosity and trust in sharing what often is proprietary information in order to make our standards better.  Long ago I stopped being surprised at how smart you are.  It has been a privilege to work with you and to lead this organization.”