Somewhat misleading data about law departments and e-billing: leading and laggard countries

A former executive of two matter management and legal e-billing companies, Jeff Hodge recently wrote a white paper for Bridgeway, one of the leading providers of both kinds of software. Entitled Legal Spend Management: An International Perspective, it discusses at page 5 the migration of U.S. law departments to Europe and beyond and “With this expansion comes the need for both global and local legal expertise on an unprecedented scale.” Figure 1 immediately below that sentence maps the world with countries color-coded as it “shows the predominance and pace of e-billing uptake worldwide.” It’s easy to read this as pertaining to legal invoices that arrive electronically, but that is not right.

Strikingly, the “Leaders” include Mexico, Chile, and Brazil in South America as well as three Scandinavian countries and Switzerland. This seems so improbable in terms of law departments and e-billing that I investigated the source of the data: Billentis. The Billentis report in May 2012 covers e-invoicing generally, not specifically legal e-billing. Based on my consulting experience as well as MMS Insights, and at the risk of chauvinism, I suspect that U.S. legal departments lead in terms of volume and proportion of legal invoices handled electronically.

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