One general counsel I have worked with suspects that e-billing systems make it very easy for lawyers to click a box next to a bill and thereby discharge their responsibility to actually review the bill. In the old days, when there was a hefty paper bill in front of a lawyer, it was more likely that the lawyer would pick up the bill, leaf through it, and perhaps scrutinize some portions. With the new software, it’s so “e”asy and intangible; just click! and you’re done.
E-billing still has obvious advantages for checking math and disciplining compliance with guidelines, but if the simplicity of a keystroke diminishes the already weak motivation of lawyers to pick apart a bill, an ironic volte face is apparent (See my post of May 1, 2006 about how little time inside lawyers spend on bill review.).