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Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) not up to the task

Why might those letters now mean Under-used Thereafter by Managers and Supervisors? Let’s catalog why.

The task structure fit best with litigation, which accounts for something around half of the spending; the remainder of legal services never lent itself to a taxonomic approach suitable for coding. Even within litigation, the categories could be used very broadly and would not clearly distinguish what timekeepers were doing.

On the law department side, three punctures let out a lot of UTBMS air. One, you need software to sort through the time entries and place them in their appropriate categories. Not every law department had that software. The bigger nail is that most law departments do not have enough similar matters to make meaningful comparisons on performance across law firms and – here’s the real inhibitor – law departments do not take the time to analyze what data they could develop from the UTBMS codes.

My view is also that any form of bill review is too late to affect consequential cost management. The hard work needs to be at the beginning, not the end, of legal services.

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One response to “Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) not up to the task”

  1. Bill Heinze says:

    Date: June 22, 2006
    Time: 12:30 PM Eastern
    Duration: 1 hour
    Phone in #: Please RSVP to in order to obtain toll free dial in number
    Fee: No charge to participate
    Outline of Talk:
    Until the last decade, law firm billing was relatively straightforward. Firms billed their clients in greater or lesser detail, typically providing in-depth narrative descriptions of the tasks and processes underlying their hourly charges. In recent years, however, clients have more specific about the types and formats of the billing information that they require, and many consumers have moved toward “task-based billing” systems where standardized codes are used to identify common tasks and activities performed by different service providers. This new approach led to a confusing proliferation of different task and activity descriptions, until, in 1995, a consortium of legal service providers and consumers created the Uniform Task-Based Management System (“UTBMS”) with standard code sets for four areas of law: litigation, counseling, bankruptcy, and projects. Those codes have now been supplemented with draft patent and draft trademark billing code sets which are available for public comment through August 26, 2006.
    Join us for an introduction to intellectual property task-based billing and a discussion of how the UTBMS Intellectual Property Billing Codes will enhance your practice.
    William F. “Bill” Heinze (
    Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley, L.L.P.
    Atlanta, Georgia USA.
    Presentation Support Material:
    UTBMS Patent Billing Codes
    UTBMS Trademark Billing Codes, and
    “An Introduction to Intellectual Property Task-Based Billing”
    You will have the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
    RSVP ( early to obtain toll free dial in number. We have a fixed number of lines available.