The number of corporate law offices presently using e-billing software may not be that high, but that’s continuously growing.
It is the perfect time to switch to e-billing now that more and more law departments and private law firms are using different web-based applications. For instance, there are web-based matter management programs that are being used already, so there is no reason why electronic billing solutions won’t be adopted by law firms, too.
But what really is e-billing, and why do corporate law departments like it? Read on and find out:
What E-Billing Is
Before the last decade, all legal billing was done on paper. A lawyer would track the time they spend on a legal matter they are handling, and once a month, the law firm they belong to would generate an invoice that sums up the number of hours worked on that particular legal project and multiply that number by the rate charged per hour.
It all sounds simple until you realize that a firm has multiple attorneys that are all simultaneously working on different matters. Depending on the size of the firm, this could go up to hundreds of multiple billings in a month. Each of these invoices has to be reviewed and compared against the projects for which they are done.
Think about how tedious the process of billing can be when done by paper. That’s not even including things that could further delay the process, like disputes or adjustments. The manual processing of these invoices, as well as other financial matters, can be very time-consuming.
It is therefore not surprising that many corporate law firms are now embracing matter management apps that allow them to track all kinds of information, including financial matters. Years ago, every piece of information needed to be entered into the system manually or electronically, usually after the bills had already been paid and had gone through the company’s accounts payable processes.
Why Do Many Corporate Law Departments Like E-Billing?
Considering today’s extremely litigious business environment, the upper levels of management should be able to track the legal budget and any potential legal exposure. They turn to their general counsel for information like this. Naturally, they want the information to be accurate, complete, and current.
For instance, they might want to know how much the company’s paying for their intellectual property and how much of that budget goes to trademark work, patents, and litigation, if any. They want to know how much of that budget was actually spent in the previous month and what the budget is like for the next.
Corporate law departments like what e-billing brings to that table. It allows them to accept, process, approve and keep their matter management information updated in a timely and accurate manner.
What’s the Return on Investment?
It is estimated that 5% to 15% of cost savings can be delivered by e-billing. The approximate cost of e-billing for a small company with a $1 million legal budget is about $24,000 annually. If the savings from e-billing were taken into account, that would mean savings of around $50,000.
Based on those numbers, the same company could get up to 200% ROI.
There are still law firms that are reluctant to utilize e-billing mainly because they think it costs too high or that the process of switching from their in-house billing system to e-billing can be troublesome. But as those who are already doing e-billing will tell you, it is all worth the investment.
If you want to know about e-billing software or you’re ready to switch to it, Legal Technology Finder can help you. Allow us to help you run your departments and complete your billing processes more efficiently and accurately!