The LEDES Oversight Committee has formalized an ad-hoc project to address situations where third party ebilling system processes are contrary to specifications in the LEDES format documentation.  Our goal is to work one-on-one with vendors to align their processes with the standards documentation, to eliminate exceptions and make legal ebilling less complicated than it is today.

To this end, we invite the legal community to report situations where vendor usage of the LEDES standards does not align with the format specification documents.

No, we don’t mean what you don’t like, or what you find annoying.  We want to know specific functionality associated with LEDES invoice files that is just contrary to how the format is written.  Here are a couple of examples:

  •  A vendor requires a tax code on every LEDES 98BI line item instead of just those that are taxable.
  • A vendor does not allow for taxes to be assessed at the matter/invoice level.

In both situations above, we reached out to the vendors to indicate that their process is contrary to how the LEDES standard is written.  It can take months for the vendor to deploy a corrected process (both of the above are likely still in the correction process), so patience is needed.  

You can submit information on non-compliance processes here.

Update:  The standard has been ratified and now available here.


From Subcommittee Chair and LEDES Vice President Cathi Collins:

The Error Codes Subcommittee of the LEDES Oversight Committee is pleased to put before the membership Phase 1 of the proposed Standard Error Codes for public comment.  The need for these codes has been apparent to our law firm members for many years as they struggle to work within the parameters of numerous marketplace systems to accommodate their clients.  Each legal ebilling system and client implementation has their own unique error messages or codes, some more explanatory than others.  These variations require hours to track down the source of the errors (i.e., what and where to correct) in the submitted invoice.

With a LEDES Error Code standard, the source of errors can be quickly identified as the message and codes will be uniform across all systems.  Further, the LEDES API proposed standard will utilize these Standard Error Codes as part of the API information exchange.

This project will take the form of 3 phases and this is Phase 1 (basic errors).  Phase 2 will endeavor to expand to cover the more intricate tax structures we encounter in today’s billing landscape.  Phase 3 will facilitate more advanced errors and client requirements and will endeavor to advise, in addition to inform.

The proposed codes presented here attempt to address the majority of basic errors and issues encountered during invoice submittal.

With the submission of this Phase 1 of the Error Codes, our Subcommittee has a unique opportunity to author an article relative to the implementation and use of the codes in ILTA’s Peer to Peer publication and we would like that article to feature the first vendor legal billing system to incorporate these Error Codes in their system.

The 2019 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, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis
Secretary – Nadia Strobbia, Thomson Reuters
Standards – Nicholas Puschak, Mitratech
Regional Groups – Andrew Dey, Andrew Dey Limited
Marketing – Rich Young, LegalKaizen

We have updated our web site to include a menu item called LEDES Education, which provides links to videos posted on our YouTube channel.  If there is a legal data exchange topic you would like to learn more about, you can suggest additional videos here.

The LEDES Oversight Committee is pleased to announce that we have added instructional videos to our YouTube Channel on how to create and edit LEDES 98B and 98BI files.  Featuring our Standards Director, Nicholas Puschak, these videos provide instruction for people new to legal ebilling on how to get started.  These videos join our earlier presentation introducing the IPMM Invention Disclosure Schema created by Robin Hunziker, who leads that subcommittee.  You can find our videos on YouTube by searching for LEDES Oversight Committee, or on the pages for each of these data exchange formats on this web site.

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that forum functionality, intended to facilitate ebilling problem solving and information sharing, has been added for member use only.   With membership in the LEDES Oversight Committee costing only $95 USD/year, this new benefit makes membership a bargain!

Aileen Leventon and Jenny Anne Horst-Martz, long-standing contributors to legal industry initiatives, have written another practical book on how to get the most out of using UTBMS codes. Legal Value Track is for both law firms and their clients, to advance the goal of developing a shared understanding on the value of particular legal services.
Legal Value Track provides buyers of legal services insight on the challenges law firms face in billing and pricing. Timekeeping practices and data bases on the costs and pricing of comparable matters require practical guidance on implementation. Outside counsel guidelines often don’t go far enough to address the actions required by individual lawyers and other timekeepers. This book does.
Legal Value Track is available on amazon.com as a paperback and an e-book. It is a companion to the manual the authors published last year on best practices in using codes in M&A transactions.

The LEDES Board of Directors has authorized the creation of an API Development Subcommittee, with Nicholas Puschak and Daniel Bodner serving as co-chairs. The subcommittee will develop and publish a software API that will enable direct application-to-application exchange of legal invoices and other information. The goal of this subcommittee is to define an industry standard REST Software API specification that will allow law firm time and billing applications to communicate directly to the corporate legal department matter management and e-billing applications, allowing law firm users to simply work within their time and billing applications to view the status of an invoice and to submit invoices, accruals and other legal data, eliminating the need to manually create and upload LEDES files to various systems. Participation in this effort is limited to LOC members. For more information, email us using the Contact LOC feature here.

A new book on using the Mergers & Acquisitions UTBMS Codes is now available.  Authored by Aileen Leventon and Jenny Ann Horst-Martz, this modestly priced resource illustrates how the codes can be used to help price or evaluate fees and value of a matter, identify where you are in the matter/plan budget, identify out-of scope work that may need to be addressed and enable corrective action as needed to meet deadlines and budgets.  More information on the book can be found here.

It is our understanding that as the judiciaries of England and Wales move ahead with the electronic form bill of costs, it is no longer required that attorneys use the J-Code task and activity codes when recording their time or in the new model form bill-of-costs itself (the nBOC).  HOWEVER attorneys are required to use the hierarchy established in the J-Codes (in other words, use the J-Code task and activity code headings) in the nBOC, or use  an alternate time categorization system for litigation in England and Wales in the nBOC that is permissible by the court, in the same way as the J-Codes are and that it is at least as good as the J-Codes.  The J-Codes are inherently permissible, being drafted by the judiciaries own Hutton Committee in collaboration with the LOC and authorized by three leading judges.

While firms can establish their own code numbering schema using the J-Code hierarchy, THEY MUST ALSO provide a worksheet in the electronic form bill of costs that translates the codes used into the headings.

The LEDES Oversight Committee recommends that firms simply use the J-Codes as elaborated here, as most firms will be familiar with the phases and tasks and also using UTBMS codes when recording their time.

More on the timescale for mandatory use of the nBOC:  Our last information is that the usage of the nBOC was to become mandatory at the beginning of October 2017 and it will need to be used for all work done after that date.  However, it is also understood that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have advised it to become mandatory beginning 06 April 2018 (to allow for the mandatory use of the nBOC in county courts as well as high court).  Given this, we advise firms to check for themselves on the go-live ‘mandatory use of the nBOC’ date.

Irrespective of the actual go-live date of the nBOC, it is going to happen soon.  It would be prudent for law firms to consider implementing the J-Codes or an alternative but equal system as soon as possible, so that time is recorded using appropriate task and activity codes, which will in turn enable the easier production of the nBOC at the close of the case when it will be required (assuming of course, the case is won).  This will then wield the advantages of the nBOC in terms of time and cost savings in its production.

Law firms are encouraged to find out more about the new model form bill of costs for themselves.  Please visit the judiciaries website for official information before making any decisions.