Should you expect your law firms to scrub their invoices electronically to match your guidelines?

We learn from the Orange Rag, June 2011 at 3 that “Wilson Legal Solutions has partnered with Invoice Solutions to develop the Invoice Optimizer system. Compatible with LEDES (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard), it prescreens law firm invoices and flags entries that don’t comply with client guidelines, so firms can streamline and improve ebilling processes. Invoice Optimizer integrates with Elite software.”

Part of me admires law firms that invest in software so that their invoices comply with the complicated and obnoxious dictates of their clients. Both sides benefit from invoices done correctly.

At war with that obliging picture is a more cynical worry: the software fixes things so that invoices comply with the letter of the law, the guidelines for billing, but do nothing about the underlying efficiency with which the firm handles the matter or the value delivered. Law departments don’t want all the math write, the disbursements in neat rows, and the billing rates at current approved levels if there is still over-staffing, over-working, and over-billing. Cosmetic polishing by software only goes so far.

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