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Matthew Markham
17-02-2020

Legal Bill Review: Outsourcing Benefits, Process, Costs, a Guide

It’s no surprise that many corporate legal organizations are seeing a real increase in their caseloads. Many busy law firms are seeing the value of outsourcing their work to external sources.

According to Thomson Reuters when they surveyed 1,000 different legal companies, it’s becoming clearer that outsourcing is becoming a trend that’s set to continue.

So why are so many lawyers seeking the benefits of legal bill review outsourcing? In this article, we’re going to take a look at why outsourcing can help to grow your business.

Let’s start with the short answer as to why savvy law experts are outsourcing bill reviews.

Why should I outsource bill reviews? Outsourcing bill reviews to an expert can assist your legal company in a number of ways. It saves time for your busy legal team to concentrate on higher-value tasks, while also saving the company money and provides an opportunity for business growth. It also strengthens business relationships due to consistency.

Now we’ve seen the short answer as to why it’s important to your business to get assistance with lengthy daily processes, in order to help us really understand this topic, let’s start by looking at exactly what bill reviews are.

What are bill reviews?

According to the study mentioned previously, we can also see that many of the companies surveyed were increasingly more focused on managing their legal spending through a number of different methods, which includes outsourced legal bill review or LBR.

It’s true to say that many busy corporate legal firms are questioning whether they should outsource this function to LBR experts so they are able to focus on higher-value work, or whether it’s best to handle it in-house. So let’s take a look below at exactly what LBR software is.

What is LBR software?

LBR software is primarily used for reviewing law firm invoices in an electronic format. Generally, these software applications are designed primarily to accommodate LEDES and UTBMS, which are the industry standard for law firm invoices.

As most law companies have a consistently high volume of law invoices, LBR software applications can help in the process of large invoicing volumes. Utilizing this technology is one of the primary reasons that many law companies are outsourcing their billing.

It’s worth knowing that the LEDES standard is the most prevalent global legal invoice standard.

Now we know exactly what a bill review is, let’s take a look below at some of the reasons why overstretched legal companies are questioning the possibility of outsourcing bill reviews.

Why do companies outsource legal bill reviews?

Across many companies, bill review (for legal bills, medical bills or other bills) is seen as a laborious distraction from higher value tasks such as building relationships, and the overall performance of the company. Many corporate legal departments are keen to concentrate on the task of growing the company and having time away from administrative tasks in order to actually be value add counsel.

This can lead to the bills not being reviewed as thoroughly as they should be. It can also lead to improper enforcement of billing guidelines.

The fact that many lawyers may view their firms as partners and may have even come from an outside firm that promotes conflict of interest. So this may have the result of costing the department and the firm greatly in terms of money and time.

One solution is that It may be an option to perhaps train up specialist staff to deal with bill reviews, let’s take a look below of the impact on taking that route.

Should I train my own specialist staff?

The main issue with utilizing your own in-house paralegals requires a large and significant training program.

Good legal bill reviewers are in high demand so it could be an issue training them up on your own companies’ time and resources, as they will be at a greater risk of leaving your company to gain better-paying roles. This has the capacity to waste further time and resources on training up new staff, which could take up to six months of company time.

Another factor in training up your own in-house team is that it can be almost impossible to know how many trained bill review associates with enough expertise that you are likely to need.

“The main issue with utilizing in-house paralegals requires a large and significant training program.”

So now we’ve seen some of the likely issues you might encounter training your own legal bill review team, let’s take a look below at some of the powerful benefits it can bring to your law firm by outsourcing this work.

What are the benefits of outsourcing bill reviews?

Outsourcing Legal bill reviews can bring many benefits to your business. Take a look below at some of the ways it can help you free up time and save money.

  • Control over your legal spend
  • Strengthen billing guidelines and ensure compliance
  • Time-saving
  • Free up staff
  • Standardized processes
  • Reduce costs
  • Structured reporting
  • Improve law firm relationships through consistent bill review
  • Enable better and more speedy business decisions
  • Significantly improve your program results

So now we’ve seen some of the ways that outsourcing can allow your legal organization to concentrate more on the job of being lawyers. Let's look at some of these topics in a little more detail.

Reduce costs

As it mostly the situation, the primary reason that outsourcing is looked on as an option is its ability to promote greater efficiency and significantly reduce costs.

For any legal business, it will drive performance and also push back costs. The whole process of LBR is not a core activity of legal companies, but those who make legal billing reviewing its chief process, will be able to standardize processes to be more efficient, labor-saving, consistent and most importantly, undertaken by experts.

“The whole process of LBR is not a core activity of legal companies,”

Structured Reporting

An LBR provider will be able to efficiently analyze multiple legal bills and prepare specific reports. Such reports S legal spend analytics, law firm staffing metrics. They will also be able to report on performance and show any possible discrepancies between billing and SLAs.

Standardized Processes

As a company specializing in LBR, it is crucial to adopt best practices and learn from the process used for multiple clients.

By offering a standardized process, companies who provide LBR are able to collate client input, while also checking every line of the invoice by implementing a due diligence process.

They will have the expertise to understand the legal process and are well informed about the mix of legal staff that your con isn’t might be using and most importantly, have the skills and resources to check every single line.

Controls legal spend

The primary goal of the LBR process is to also to reduce unnecessary legal spend and also help your law firm to manage legal budgets more carefully.

A partner who is a specialist in the whole legal bill reviewing process will thoroughly understand the whole context of the invoicing procedure. They will have the expertise to be aware of the kind of legal service that your company offered and also be aware of the costs incurred for the different types of services you offer.

“The primary goal of the LBR process is to also to reduce unnecessary legal spend and also help your law firm to manage legal budgets more carefully.”

And finally…

So it seems as if the way forward for busy legal firms is to outsource legal bill reviewing to an expert and dedicated LBR provider. This way, companies can concentrate on growing and strengthening partnerships, whilst enabling lawyers to concentrate first and foremost on being a lawyer. If you’re looking to make your billing practices run seamlessly with your organization, why not get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.