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Curious lack of interest in e-billing software, according to recent survey

ALM Legal Intelligence compiled responses from 107 senior in-house counsel, about three-quarters of which were general counsel. The summary of the report, in Law Tech. News, Feb. 2012 at 24, says that almost two out of three of the respondents come from companies with annual revenue of less than $1 billion, so many of the respondent departments have only 1-5 lawyers.

Size matters when it comes to e-billing software and its advantages. So, perhaps it is not as surprising as you first think to read that of the 107 law departments “none plan to install e-billing software to track outside counsel and fees.” You don’t benefit sufficiently if you are only two or three in-house lawyers if you have to choose, install, learn, roll out and maintain e-billing software. Even with larger departments the respondents might have thought of matter management software packages as more suited to “track outside counsel and fees.” They might have read the question as speaking merely to the method of transmitting invoices of outside counsel. The short summary also does not indicate what percentage of the respondents already uses e-billing and so don’t “plan to install” it.

In short, a survey finding that suggests an utter lack of interest in e-billing software among law departments may be an artifact of the respondents’ smallness, the question’s ambiguity, or the absence of a revelatory, complementary question. Other data tells us, after all, that e-billing capabilities are spreading.

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