Software helps lawyers with outside counsel guidelines

According to an October 2023 Thomson Reuters report, every law firm segment has seen their realization percentages decline for at least five consecutive quarters. These losses have largely resulted from avoidable law firm errors such as billing missteps — including failing to provide sufficient detail on bills, and producing noncompliant invoices that get rejected by e-billing technology.

Your law firm can avoid these self-inflicted financial injuries. At the 2023 Legal Value Network conference, two law firms shared how they did just that by implementing Intapp Terms and Intapp Time. These solutions have enabled these firms to reduce billing rejections and write-offs and improve their realization.

A centralized, digital process transforms an error-prone manual system at Fox Rothschild

After joining Fox Rothschild five years ago, Jason Ross, the firm’s Chief Business Intake and Pricing Officer, found that its lawyers — like those at many firms — were responsible for gathering, reviewing, and managing outside counsel guidelines (OCGs). This time-consuming, manual, error-prone process resulted in numerous billing rejections due to noncompliance.

To reduce these errors, Ross introduced a new business process that included defining how OCGs were stored, handled, and reviewed. He also began reviewing OCGs alongside the associate general counsel, providing short, written summaries of OCGs to the firm’s professionals and the billing team to enable them to manage key compliance items.

Because this manual centralization of OCGs was well received by the firm, Fox decided to digitally centralize and store OCGs using Intapp Terms. The firm also appreciated that Intapp Terms uses AI to automatically categorize terms. Given that some OCGs can be hundreds of pages, this feature helps Fox save time that would otherwise be spent manually going through these documents to pull out each individual requirement.

The firm also began using Intapp Time, which automatically captures billable and non-billable work effort. In addition, the program reminds users of specific client guidelines with pop-up messages at the point of time entry. This feature helps lawyers comply with client terms.

Improved OCG compliance at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.

Prior to implementing a digital solution, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. established a process to route OCGs to respective administrative teams for approval while continuing to have the General Counsel focus on reviewing ethical issues.

The firm then began using Intapp Terms as a centralized tool that everyone at the firm could use to view outside counsel requirements. Soon after, the firm added Intapp Time to enforce the categorized OCGs at the point of time entry.

Before implementing Intapp Time, Reinhart often saw many of its bills get rejected because their lawyers had used block billing in time entries, contrary to client requests. But with Intapp Time’s pop-up messages showing client requirements, their lawyers correctly entered information on bills and avoided billing rejections.

A flexible digital solution welcomed by everyone involved

Neither firm met resistance from their lawyers when implementing their new digital processes. The firms communicated to their professionals how showing client requirements at the point of time entry would reduce write-offs, and their team members appreciated the clear benefit.

The firms also welcomed the configurability of Intapp Time’s settings. For example, firms can require users to edit any noncompliant time entries. Firms can also allow (or disallow) overrides of the pop-up alert messages.

This flexibility in settings is important: In some cases, your firm may want its lawyers to have discretion to enter time in ways that are inconsistent with the recorded guidelines. That is, there may be times when the client and attorney have separately conferred and agreed not to follow the guidelines for a particular matter or task.

What two law firms gained by implementing Intapp Terms and Intapp Time

Using Intapp Time and Intapp Terms, both Fox and Reinhart made their billing processes more efficient and accurate. Their number of post-billing write-offs decreased significantly, while their speed of collection increased. The number of e-billing rejections also decreased, resulting in higher realization. As a result of the increased efficiency in the process, billing professionals have been able to focus on other efforts.

The firms also benefited from providing transparency on client requirements across the organization and improved reporting on items tracked, including:

  • Security requirements
  • Approved timekeepers
  • Billing requirements
  • Block billing

A solution that helps you avoid the fate of less organized firms

Your firm can also make OCG compliance a simpler process that helps you increase realization rates and revenue.

To learn more about how Intapp Terms and Intapp Time can help you avoid the write-offs plaguing most firms, please schedule a demo.