In an abundance of caution, the Board decided in early June to hold our mid-year meeting via webinar only.  And with the recent uptick of the pandemic, it seems like a wise decision!  Our annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 11:00 Eastern via webinar, which is later in the year than we usually meet, so as to not conflict with participating in the ILTA Summer Conference.  

The meeting is open to LEDES members and anyone interested in legal data exchange.  Interested parties can register to attend the meeting by using this link

The meeting agenda includes reports from the Board and subcommittee heads and should run between 60 and 90 minutes.

There is no change this year in the composition of the LOC Board of Directors.

President – Jane A. Bennitt, Global Legal Ebilling, LLC
Vice President – Cathrine J. Collins, Legal Systems Automation, LLC
Treasurer/Membership – Jim Hannigan, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP
Secretary – Nadia Strobbia, Thomson Reuters
Standards – Nicholas Puschak, Mitratech
Regional Groups – Andrew Dey, Andrew Dey Limited
Marketing – David Nelson, Pathfinder eConsulting Limited

As always, you can reach the Board via this link.

The UTBMS (Uniform Task-Based Management System) codes used in legal ebilling have been created by numerous different bodies, and most were created with consideration of the American legal system. This makes the codes difficult for global users because in some cases (i) they don’t fully understand the English documentation and (ii) they don’t understand the American legal terms used in the codes.

To better support global users, the LEDES Oversight Committee has undertaken a project to translate the UTBMS Code sets from English into the following languages: Chinese (simplified); Spanish (traditional); Arabic; Portuguese (traditional); Russian; Japanese; German; French; and Italian. Each set of translations has been professionally created and then reviewed by LOC members in these countries to ensure the translations provide better guidance in terms of the legal processes described.

This project has been fully funded by the LEDES Oversight Committee and represents the biggest financial outlay of the organization since our formation. To support this project please consider joining the LEDES Oversight Committee.

More information on the translations can be found on www.UTBMS.com.www.UTBMS.com.

We are pleased to announce that Phase 1 of the LEDES Error Codes have been ratified and are now available on this web site here.

Error Codes are a new type of LEDES standard established to provide a standardized structure to ebilling invoice errors.  The codes will serve to standardize the identification of LEDES file submission errors from system-to-system and client-to-client.

This effort is a direct response to comments by many of our law firm members who identified the often-times unintelligible error messages presented back by client systems as a serious pain point.  When adopted and implemented by software vendors, the LEDES Error Codes will significantly reduce the time spent tracking down error codes and rectifying billing errors (estimated to be upwards of 100 hours per billing cycle).

Vendors should add the associated code  to the end of their existing error message.  Example:

Duplicate invoice number [R401]

Let’s get this started!  Contact your vendors today — those whose systems create your ebills, as well as the third-party ebilling vendors that receive your ebills  — and request they implement these new LEDES Error Codes ASAP. 

The Board of Directors has authorized the formation of a new IP Improvement Subcommittee whose charter explains their mandate as follows:

Intellectual Property invoices are different than many other types of legal invoices in the sense that they are typically high in volume and low in dollar amount.  Those who review Intellectual Property invoices often note that is time-intensive and costly to review these invoices. 

Of interest to IP invoice reviewers and a focus of this sub-committee is the tracking of individual tasks assigned to vendors (e.g. drafting an office action response).  Invoice review for tasks is difficult because sometimes companies are billed twice for the same task and invoice reviewers must spend significant amounts of time to check whether this is the case.  The sub-committee will investigate whether updating the LEDES formats with a place for a unique task id generated by an ELM or IP system may be used to validate that a task has only been billed once.    

In addition, the sub-committee will review the UTBMS codes for IP.  There are existing UTBMS codes for various types of IP (e.g. Patents and Trademarks).  These codes haven’t been reviewed lately and should be examined now that they have been in use for some time.  The sub-committee may make recommendations on updating these codes.   

The subcommittee will also be open to other suggestions and recommendations as it investigates potential improvements to recommend to the LEDES Operating Committee. 

The Subcommittee will be led by Adam Jaffe.

A new subcommittee has been authorized to to review the processes currently involved in the preparation of timekeeper uploads and determine/document the issues stemming from this process. The subcommittee with then produce a recommendation for a new Timekeeper process that is operationally much smoother and less time consuming.

The subcommittee was formed as an off-shoot of discussions held by the UK Regional Group.  The subcommittee charter describes the issue to be solved this way:

Law firm billing departments are facing a huge operational problem in terms of the time and resource required to accomplish ebilling to an adequate level and in a timely manner (i.e. the production of valid and accurate ebills created quickly with little difficulty). Given that the level of ebilling is set to increase as client demand rises, then by-extension the problems are set to get worse as the volume of ebills needing to be produced increases accordingly. 

Chief amongst these ebilling problems faced by Billing departments is the time required for the provision of Timekeeper related data to the respective ebilling systems – it is estimated that 50%-60% of the total time it takes to do an ebill is spent on checking and uploading timekeeper details, so that the ebilling system can validate the timekeeper in the ebill.

The typical problems faced are: Details different timekeeper upload templates; Different data fields; Different methods of uploading; Identification of which timekeepers that need to be uploaded; Currency issues; Rate issues (where different matters types have different charge-out rates) – these are but a few of the issues they face and the list is not exhaustive. Additionally, the timekeeper validation itself is done differently across the various ebilling systems.

This subcommittee will be chaired by David Nelson and Andrew Dey.

The 2020 LEDES Oversight Committee Board of Directors has been seated.  Our leadership includes:

President – Jane A. Bennitt, Global Legal Ebilling, LLC
Vice President – Cathrine J. Collins, Legal Systems Automation, LLC
Treasurer/Membership – Jim Hannigan, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP
Secretary – Nadia Strobbia, Thomson Reuters
Standards – Nicholas Puschak, Mitratech
Regional Groups – Andrew Dey, Andrew Dey Limited
Marketing – David Nelson, Pathfinder eConsulting Limited

In 2020 the LEDES Oversight Committee is focusing on usability.  In this regard, we are working toward releasing versions of the UTBMS code sets better suited for use in non-US legal proceedings, meaning that we want to create versions containing descriptive language as opposed to using US-oriented legal procedural terms.  Once this is complete, we will then translate the UTBMS documents into simplified Chinese, traditional Spanish, Arabic, traditional Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, French and Italian.  

This project is being led by Director Jim Hannigan and is expected to take a year to complete.  One hurdle in this project is that many code sets were ratified by organizations other than the LEDES Oversight Committee, and we need their approval to move ahead with altering their original material. 

Our intention is to hire a legal translation company to assist with the translation.  A member law firm has already agreed to help approve the Chinese translations, to ensure everything makes sense before it is published.  Can you help us?  If so, please contact us using this link.