One forte of e-billing software is that they can check whether a law firm timekeeper is an authorized timekeeper and whether that person’s billing rate is the proper one. The savings that result and the increased management control can be considerable.
The price, however, of software that can police timekeepers and their rates is perpetual effort to maintain the correct information. If a law department has scores of law firms and hundreds of timekeepers, this seemingly innocuous updating can become a full-time activity for someone. The time required to do this is part of what is generally referred to as “system maintenance.”
I have a feeling that when people tout the savings that law departments can obtain from e-billing, they may not net out the full overhead costs of system maintenance (See my posts of May 1, 2005; May 14, 2005 on e-billing savings and ROI; and Feb. 7, 2006 on regression to the mean.).