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A rare law department that agitates for real-time billing data

“Our vote for the next important step [in law firm billing] is user-friendly Intranet sites on which clients can secure real-time access to their lawyers’ billing entries.” Part of the advocacy sections on task-based billing, in updated chapter 14 on billing written by Brackett Denniston and Alex Dimitrief of General Electric, I am surprised at this vote.

Only in the most costly matter, where the in-house lawyer genuinely seeks to manage costs – and has the ability and clout to make tough calls – might next-day billing data help the cause (See my post of Oct. 31, 2005: real-time bill information through JennerNet; May 19, 2006: disparages real-time billing information; Oct. 31, 2007: one of my predictions for the future; Dec. 16, 2007: quick review of bills by a third party; Jan. 3, 2008: increase frequency of bills on costly matters; Aug. 28, 2008: cell phone tracking of real-time billing; invoices; and Sept. 28, 2009: who needs “quick look” billing summaries.). Bob Haig’s Successful Partnering series

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2 responses to “A rare law department that agitates for real-time billing data”

  1. This, I fear, would lead to micromanagement. Hire a good professional team (outside counsel), give them clear guidance and a vision on the desired outcome(s) and values of those outcomes, agree on a budget, and then focus on the big picture and the professionals’ performance in relation to that.

  2. The fundamental flaw in this line of thinking results from the totally unreliable use of task codes when analyzing or making actionable decisions. Most counsel do not take the time to accurately select the most appropriate code therefore negating its accuracy and reliability. Common language descriptions still provide the greatest opportunity for accurate categorization of tasks.