The LEDES™ (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard) Oversight Committee (“LOC”) is an international, voluntary, not-for-profit organization comprised of legal industry representatives and is charged with creating and maintaining open standard formats for the electronic exchange of billing and other information between corporations and law firms. The LOC is dedicated to using open standards which cater to no one organization or group of organizations to uniformly satisfy the complex needs of the legal industry based on 5 basic principles: keep it simple; make it unambiguous; diverge from existing formats as little as absolutely necessary; only ask for information the law firm is typically able to provide from their financial system; and meet the needs of corporations, law firms and legal industry software vendors to the maximum extent possible consistent with the first four criteria.
First formed in 1995 as an informal group tasked with creating a framework for the exchange of billing information, the LOC now offers several different formats for legal ebilling, as well as schemas for budgeting, timekeeper, rate management and IP matter management data exchange, all of which are available on this site. The LEDES ebilling standards are globally recognized and accepted as industry-specific EDI standards for the exchange of legal ebilling information. In addition, the LOC leads the industry in creating and updating UTBMS schemas used in legal data exchange, and is responsible for creating and maintaining UTBMS.com, the ultimate resource on UTBMS standards created worldwide.
When legal ebilling first started in the US, “keeping it simple” was easy to achieve. This is harder to do with the spread of legal ebilling around the globe and with the advent of alternate fee arrangements.
Global eInvoicing requirements, particularly those from country tax authorities, have significantly expanded the number of data points required in a legal ebill, dramatically increasing the complexity of the legal invoice file. Instead of being a file that includes only the data elements that underlie the transaction, where the receiving system could reconstruct the invoice, a legal invoice file today should include all aspects of the nature of the financial transaction between the parties.
Alternate fee agreements similarly have increased the complexity of the legal invoice file. Corporate professionals have devised some “creative” means of contracting for outside counsel services, and the legal invoice file must be able to support the transmission of this information.
The end result is that legal ebilling is more complicated today than originally imagined.
The LEDES formats support more than just legal ebilling. There are formats for legal budgeting, timekeeper information and to transmit IP matter information.
About This Website
LEDES.org was established by the LEDES Oversight Committee in 1998 as a global resource for standards created by the LEDES Oversight Committee to be used in the exchange of information between law departments or other legal organizations and the outside counsel and other legal vendors providing services to them.
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