LEDES Me Away To E-Billing Land
Article by Yong Lee, OMTI President & CEO:
I hate consultants. As the saying goes, “Consultants borrow your watch to tell you the time — and then charge to return the watch.”
I believe they are responsible for all the rules that benefit large corporations, while putting so many burdens on small companies like ours.
Here is an example:
Back in 1995, large corporations (mainly insurance companies) were complaining about spending too much money processing paper invoices submitted by law firms. They wanted to automate the data-entry process to cut costs.
They also wanted to scrutinize the invoices line-by-line to control the escalating legal costs. They were throwing around words like, “efficiency,” “automation,” “cost containment” and “standard.”
Guess what? Those are the kind of words consultants feed on. Price Waterhouse (a den of consultants) was hired to spearhead the project to come up with a standard to exchange legal data electronically.
The Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) was adopted by all the parties involved. Law firms hated it (they still do). Time-and-billing software vendors for the legal industry scrambled to come up with updates to handle this new requirement. And poor old secretaries in small law offices were typing funny-looking characters using Notepad to create LEDES files by hand.
No more one-line invoices like, “Services rendered by me: $50,000.”
Over time, law firms have learned to live with it. It’s become the status quo.
Now it’s the court reporting firms’ turn. You get to go through lots of motions to save big corporations money if you want to keep your clients who rely on e-billing.
However, you don’t need to suffer as many law firms did, if you are using RB8. I worked with our programmers for over a year on LEDES for RB8. With the latest update, you can easily generate LEDES 98B files and email them to whomever is holding your money as hostage.
Once you have set up the codes in your Service Items Master List and mass-updated your billing rate tables, it’s as easy to generate a LEDES 98B-compliant invoice as any other invoice in your RB8. And by giving your clients invoices that they can directly upload into their e-billing system, you enhance your chances of getting paid quickly.
This e-billing option is included free in RB 8.53, released March 12, 2010. And we’ve published an e-Billing User Guide on our website in the Team RB members-only area, so you can start using this new feature immediately.
I’ll probably never warm up to consultants, but I love programmers.