Forbidden fruit? Disbursements for online legal research?

Metropolitan Corporate Counsel interviewed the CEO of a leading e-billing company, DataCert (Sept. 2005 at 33). The CEO gave an example of one benefit of electronic review of law firm invoices: “if a company does not pay for online research, we will flag any line items with that description.”

Whoa! What law department would bar its outside counsel from using Lexis/Nexis or WestLaw or Thomson & Thomson or other online databases that charge fees? For the firm to have to get permission for online research above a certain amount, that could be expected. But to ignore the manifest need for law firms to sometimes research the law seems a bizarre example of e-billing’s powers or law department’s myopic views.

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