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Law departments not always tough on mandatory use of e-billing systems

Early this year, the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) Oversight Committee released survey data from 121 law firms. The report notes (at 11) that “24% of respondents have successfully retained a client after refusing to electronically bill at all.”

The report offers no explanation for this fairly high percentage of firms that resisted, but I can speculate. The major reason for that impasse, I suspect, is that the firm had to install and learn a new system, or pay a significant fee, but the firm realized it was likely only to work on one matter (See my post of Sept. 5, 2007 on the use of e-billing only with a department’s primary firms.). Another possibility is that that a fixed fee or contingency fee arrangement had been negotiated. Also, law departments might grant an exemption for a key law firm that has significant clout with the CEO or Board.