All processes and practices in a legal department lie somewhere on a spectrum

By spectrum I mean a range of approaches from one extreme to another along a continuum. One such spectrum is how a legal department processes law firm invoices. Extant today is a range that shifts gradually from no review at all because invoices go straight from firms to accounts payable, to some review of bills on major matters, on across to multiple levels of review and recording of all bills – including electronic billing rules and elaborate guidelines together with electronic transmission to accounts payable and sophisticated reporting.

That’s not all. A spectrum exists the next level down. Every lawyer who reviews invoices has an individual style. More, any lawyer may change the style according to the time of day, personal foibles, the law firm involved, the press of work and myriad other factors. Each individual involved in a spectrum process – processing invoices being only one of many – acts on a spectrum.

Now consider the level above. If invoice review is viewed as one element of a broader process – outside counsel management or cost control – then it is one element that is changeable across a set of activities that are themselves on a spectrum.

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