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Rees Morrison’s Morsels # 59 – additions to earlier posts

Suspicious data on e-billing. Kurt Swanke of Wolters Kluwer, which owns CT TyMetrix, responded to my email to explain some peculiar figures on e-billing (See my post of Oct. 26, 2007 with the original data; and Nov. 4, 2007 with some commentary by other vendors on that data.) “The survey may have included those respondents that are not aware of the e-billing solutions utilized. There are very few inside the firm that are aware besides the time and billing administrators. CT TyMetrix now has close to all 200 (over 98%) of the AMLAW 200 and 15,000 firms in 135+ countries using its e-billing and matter management solutions. We conduct annual surveys to tens of thousands of law firm employees to understand the trends of the business and the reduction trend projected in this study is something that we have never seen.”

One law firm review another law firm’s bills. One of the cost controls requested by Barry Bonds, the baseball slugger facing federal perjury charges in San Francisco, is that an “out-of-town law firm review the bills” of the defense lawyers he retains. That’s all it says in the Wall St. J., Dec. 6, 2007 at B1, but I wanted to pass on the tip. It’s quite true that lawyers at third-party bill auditors review bills, and even a law firm or two had developed a business in that field (See my post of Dec. 4, 2006 with a list.), but I have not heard of real-time bill scrutiny. And who reviews the bills of the bill review firm?

When the Magic (Circle) wears off – my mistake on Lovells. Lovells is also a Magic Circle firm, so my earlier post with collected references to the group undercounted them by one (See my post of June 18, 2007 for the collection.). Oops, and my apologies. It troubles me a bit that no one pointed out my omission (See my posts of July 30, 2005 about Lovell’s China survey; and Feb. 25, 2007 about one of its partners moving to SABMiller.).

ASLA: The Association of Great Law Firms in Italy. On the back cover of a recent issue of Legal Week, splashed in glorious color are the logos of 58 law firms. They make up ASLA. Among the group, I spotted eight with US affiliations (Baker & McKenzie, Bryan Cave, Cleary Gottlieb, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Jones Day, Orrick, Shearman & Sterling, and Willkie Farr). The Magic Circle were well represented (Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, and Lovells) and one global giant (DLA Piper). Perhaps we will see the equivalent of this association in other countries (See my post of June 20, 2007 for my most recent citation to a network of law firms.).

Brobdignagian legal fees. According to Legal Week, Vol. 9, Nov. 29, 2007 at 12, Merck has reported in filings that its defense of Vioxx claims has been roughly $1 billion (See my post of June 19, 2006 for other huge fees.). As Senator Dirkson once said, “Soon we’re talking real money.”