A meeting of the membership of the LEDES Oversight Committee will be held at 12:00 noon Eastern on 28 January, 2019 at a law firm adjacent to the LegalWeek Conference site. The meeting will also be broadcast via webinar to members who cannot participate in person. If you would like to attend the meeting or would like the webinar instructions, please contact the LOC here.
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 UTBMS feature here.
The LEDES Oversight Committee Board of Directors has authorized the creation of a subcommittee to consider updates to the IP Invention Disclosure Schema. Robin Hunziker, who spearheaded creation of the original standard, is leading this effort.
A draft version of the proposed revisions can be found here, as well as a link to a survey to collect public comment on the changes.
A new book on using the Mergers and Acquisitions Codes is now available. Authored by Aileen Leventon and Jenny Ann Horst-Martz, who led the effort to create the M&A codes, 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.
The LEDES Oversight Committee has issued a survey to collect feedback on issues that exist with ebilling as part of our campaign called “Disrupting the Ebilling Status Quo.” The survey, open until April 1st, will identify areas where the LOC has an opportunity to create or change standards, offer training and to publish about best practices — all intended to make the process more rational than it is today.
The survey can be found here. It will take some time to respond to this survey, the length of time depending on the type of organization for which the respondent works.
We appreciate your participation in the survey; all respondents who provide an email address will receive results from the survey.
At our mid-year Member’s Meeting, the LEDES Oversight Committee announced that the time has come to identify and address issues and deficiencies with legal ebilling. As a standards organization the LOC Board recognizes that the we can recommend but not force standards. Once we have quantified issues experienced by law firm and law department users, subcommittees will be formed to recommend solutions and standards. We plan a publishing campaign to influence public opinion and create a demand for better solutions.
We look forward to working with our members to effectuate change.
Check back from time to time for more information on this exciting project.
Are you interested in participating in this effort? The LEDES Oversight Committee is one of the best association bargains in legal. Use the Join the LOC feature on www.LEDES.org to join today.
We are just back this week from the ILTA conference, where the LOC held our mid-year meeting and a panel discussion on “Why UTBMS Isn’t a Waste of Time.”
The UTBMS session was interesting and our panel of experts provided great insight as to how UTBMS is used in electronic validation of invoice submissions, budgeting, invoice review, reporting and in the business intelligence platforms. One interesting take away is that when clients customize UTBMS, the custom codes need to be mapped back to general codes by the analytics provider in order for the data to be used in benchmarking. Our thanks to Philip Downey, Jack Thompson, Margie Sleboda and Doug Ventola for all of their great insights.
The webinar offered by the LEDES Oversight Committee on the new Merger and Acquisitions UTBMS Codes ratified by the LOC earlier this year has been postponed. Join us for the webinar on the new date and time, Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.
The webinar will be hosted by Linda Hovanec of Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions. Speakers include Byron S. Kalogerou, a Partner at McDermott Will and Emery, and Aileen Leventon, Esq. from QLex Consulting, both instrumental in the creation of the codes.
Use the following to participate in the webinar:
Join WebEx meeting
Meeting number: 664 128 396
Meeting password: 4iXwYt85
Join by phone
1-877-668-4490 Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada)
1-408-792-6300 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)
Access code: 664 128 396
LEDES Oversight Committee Standards Board Member David Nelson reports:
For all law firms that conduct civil litigation in England and Wales, Lord Justice Jackson delivered a keynote speech at the Law Society’s Civil Litigation conference yesterday (Thu 21st April 2016) regarding the new Bill of Costs and the J-Codes. The text of Lord Justice Jackson’s speech is available here: Jackson talk on new bill of costs.21.4.16
Background for your information:
As you may be aware, the judiciary in England and Wales asked Lord Justice Jackson to conduct a review of the way costs are presented to and assessed by the courts. There are often difficulties for law firms to get the right funding for cases and need to bring in a Costs Management firm to help them. It is hoped this review will help make it easier for the law firms to manage their court costs. This was known as the Jackson Review of Civil Litigation Costs in England and Wales, simply referred to as the ‘Jackson Review’.
Several recommendations were made by Jackson LJ in his final report in the area of the inter-parte Bill-of-Costs, with the aim of reducing the preparation lead-times involved in producing the bill and improving the assessment of it (and reducing the time it takes to assess).
A committee was set-up to work on realising these recommendations, now known as the Hutton Committee – it is chaired by Alex Hutton QC and its members consist of representatives from a broad section of the legal industry, including Costs’ Lawyers, a Costs’ Judge; Legal Firms and company directors, and a representative from the ACL. The LOC participated by virtue of having David Nelson (LOC standards director) serving as the project coordinator on the Committee.
The committee delivered two work products – 1: the J-Codes and 2: the new model form Bill-of-Costs (for inter-parte costs to be presented to the court at the conclusion of the case). The J-Codes were ratified by the LOC in September 2014 and are a valid UTBMS standard. They can be used for eBilling if the client requires them and the vendor has them configured (the LOC hopes that they have by now). The new Bill-of-Costs is currently under voluntary pilot in the SCCO (Senior Courts Costs’ Office) until October 2016.
Much has appeared in the legal press about both the J-Codes and the new Bill-of-Costs, and there has been controversy which is too much to cover in this announcement.
The important take-away is that the new Bill-of-Costs is on the horizon, so law firms in England and Wales need to review it accordingly and consider how and when to start using it. Reviewing LJ Jackson’s speech may help in this decision making process.