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.
The LEDES™ (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard) Oversight Committee (“LOC”) is a voluntary, global not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating and maintaining standards for the exchange of legal information between legal organizations and the legal vendors providing services on their matters. 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 organizations to the maximum extent possible consistent with the first four criteria.
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.