Has it just become too hard to e-bill clients?
Let’s look at some of the challenges:
- There is no standard e-bill format, LEDES 1998B is probably the best there is. Clients have not adopted the LEXES XML format, despite years of effort to make it the standard. The 1998B format has loop-holes and almost every corporation has added customizations to it.
- E-billing submissions get disputed and results in a payment delay. An attorney has not been approved by the software, he’s approved alright, but the clients software hasn’t been updated.
- The audit software used by the client says “this work should have been done by an associate, not a partner”, the time entry is rejected. There is a “;” in the narrative, the entry is rejected.
- The current Phase codes, Task codes and Activity codes are not always easy to use, attorneys don’t always understand them. Wrong phase/task/activity code, the entry is rejected.
- Then there are the billing rules for each client, they won’t pay for this, that and the other thing. You need special advanced permission for a variety of day to day items.
- Did I mention that the firm submits the e-bill in a matter of seconds on-line, and waits, and waits and waits for payment, less all the disputed items, of course.
What’s the real purpose of e-billing? To make life difficult, delay payment and lower legal expenses?
It’s almost like a sinister trade-off.
Since law firms charge incredibly high hourly rates and bill for everything under the sun … companies paying these bills require e-Billing, all sorts of codes and impose increasingly difficult billing rules.