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Electronic invoice transmission (e-billing) and law firm complaints

The Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) Oversight Committee issued a 20-page white paper in March, 2007. Much of the report lays out the responses of 121 law firms to a survey about e-billing.

The firms were rambunctious! More than 80 percent of them said that “dealing with billing disputes” was “somewhat challenging” or “much more difficult” with electronic invoices than with paper invoices. That criticism may be directed at the mechanics of how to correct a bill that has been challenged or it might reflect the fact that more bills are challenged.

As to receiving payment, 39 percent felt electronic transmission was “somewhat challenging” or “much more difficult” than paper. Maybe e-billing systems transmit their approved invoices electronically to accounts payable systems and in that handoff lies delay and problems.

A bit more than a third of the law firms said that 75 percent or more of their invoices didn’t require any adjustment. That means, I think, that the software found no rule violations in those bills (See my post of Sept. 18, 2006 on e-billing rules.) and the lawyers who reviewed the bills found no cause for reductions (See my post of May 1, 2006 on lax bill review.). In other words, billing disputes and payment delays nag the firms, but the law departments often find nothing to complain of in the bills.