Manage OCGs and Ensure Billing Compliance with Legal Compliance Software
Tracking outside counsel guidelines (OCGs) and ensuring billing compliance for all client matters is a challenging but necessary responsibility for lawyers and other legal timekeepers. Failure to properly follow client guidelines when recording time and ultimately submitting bills could result in write-offs as well negatively impacting the client relationship.
Unfortunately, the growing quantity and complexity of OCGs makes it difficult for firms to properly manage client terms and monitor any changes the client may make to these guidelines. Thomson Reuters’ 2021 State of Corporate Law Departments revealed that 58% of corporate legal departments witnessed an increase in workload due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that lawyers have even less time to review terms and ensure billing compliance.
Another rising challenge around OCGs is the fact that more and more clients expect firms to provide the same level of service in the same manner as their competitors. A client may, for example, demand that a firm use a web portal for servicing its needs because a previous firm used that tool. Clients may also repurpose a previous firm’s billing terms or requirements as the basis for their own guidelines, making OCGs more complex than necessary.
Firms that don’t use the exact tools or processes that potential clients specify in their OCGs find themselves at a serious disadvantage and could potentially lose new business. Firms and lawyers work with numerous clients, some of whom already have existing complex OCGs, terms of engagement, or service level agreements. The more complex OCGs that lawyers must manage, the more difficult it becomes for them to accurately understand and follow these guidelines. This can lead to incorrect time entries, billing errors, and write-offs.
Manage Your Time and Guidelines
To ensure compliance and better support lawyers and legal timekeepers, firms are increasingly looking towards legal compliance software with time tracking and billing capabilities. Intapp Time — part of the OnePlace Operations & Finance suite — offers compliance management software that automatically captures billable and non-billable work, and uses built-in AI to ensure compliance with OCGs and
billing terms at the point of time entry.
Intapp Time helps lawyers and legal timekeepers ensure compliance through its alert system. The solution can send out different types of warnings, from simple alerts — which notify the user if there’s an error in the time entry — to more complex alerts — which prevent the user from submitting an incorrect entry to the billing system or prevent the system from producing an invoice. Using this technology, firms can improve billing processes by making them smoother and more accurate.
Intapp Time also offers three different ways to define OCGs or other client terms . A law firm can manually create rules, or Intapp Time can analyze data from another repository — such as an e-billing system — and use that information as a point of reference to describe the OCGs. The third way — and perhaps the best— is to define guidelines by combining Intapp Time with another AI-based solution: Intapp Terms.
Increase Efficiency with Intapp Time and Intapp Terms
Intapp Terms is part of the OnePlace Risk & Compliance suite. However, firms with only an Intapp Time subscription can still use Intapp Terms for billing terms — a single use case covered in the Intapp Time license. Intapp Terms helps firms manage client mandates by leveraging AI to analyze key documents and decide what content relates to specific terms or billing guidelines.
If, for example, the AI notes language in the OCG that forbids block billing, the application can identify the words “block billing” and highlight that as a potential billing rule that the firm must adhere to. Intapp Terms can then seamlessly present this information within Intapp Time to remind lawyers to remain in compliance as they enter and bill their time.
Leveraging automated legal compliance software like Intapp Time and Intapp Terms gives firms a massive advantage. By using both solutions, firms can easily capture and analyze OCGs, quickly create specific rules in their time recording system, and reduce the risk of billing disputes. Most importantly, lawyers can serve their clients more efficiently and adeptly than ever before.
Learn more about how Intapp Time and Intapp Terms compliance management software can help your firm manage OCGs and ensure billing compliance: Schedule a demo today, and be sure to register for our upcoming webinar, “Guidelines, Terms, and Client Compliance: From Budgeting to Billing, Risk to Revenue.”
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