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The future: Automate billing and generate detailed information when law firms telephone you

I foresee tighter controls on law firms billing for telephone calls. Let me sketch a future state.

A law department might mandate that all calls to it go through a “routing number.” Anyone with access to that number will call it and enter the “matter code” and the number of the person to be called. Software records the caller’s number – and thus knows the timekeeper and billing rate. It records the person called – and thus knows the in-house counsel or other person called. It records the length of the call – and thus obviates the need to track and bill because completely detailed information is electronically available.

This sounds Orwellian, and full of kinks: sometimes there might be more than one person on the speaker phone or teleconference. Workarounds will develop to address problems. But a tracking system along these lines will create more information than now, and quite easily. And, all will be much easier with smart mobile phones. Entrepreneurs, bring it on!