McCarter & English modernizes its legal billing processes with Intapp Billstream

U.S. law firm McCarter & English deploys legal billing software Intapp Billstream to automate its paper-based processes.

Founded in 1845, McCarter & English, LLP is an American full-service law firm with offices in 12 cities across the United States. With more than 400 lawyers, the firm provides legal services to 4,000 clients and generates 12,000 invoices per month.

Seeking a modern, automated solution

In search of an automated legal billing software solution to replace its paper-based processes, McCarter & English was in the midst of evaluating Intapp Billstream when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020. The evaluation program, which had begun as a pilot for two partners, was designed to let the legal billing team test the system and validate that its integration with the firm’s Elite Enterprise system worked as expected.

The firm chose to pursue a limited scope, fixed-fee installation as a working proof of concept, and later added five additional users. “Customizations can get out of hand fast, so [this] seemed to be a good way to be fiscally conservative while fully evaluating the software,” says Jacqueline Bosma, Controller at McCarter & English.

All was going smoothly — until the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of the firm’s employees to work from home.

“We gave our lawyers 10 days to review draft invoices, and about 90% had gotten them back to us within 5 days. It was remarkable — almost too fast.”

JACQUELINE BOSMA, CONTROLLER, McCARTER & ENGLISH

Moving the rollout into high gear

Firm leadership “had to decide: Do we do our best with paper, or try to get as many people on Intapp Billstream as possible?” Bosma said. They quickly realized that they wanted a legal billing software that would minimize the number of employees who needed to go into the office.

Within two weeks, the firm onboarded and trained 130 users. The Intapp Billstream team “did a great job with the initial consultation, was flexible in meeting our needs, and was very responsive in troubleshooting after go-live,” Bosma said. “That was really key to our success. [And] we were lucky that we were already in the pilot phase when the need to work remotely occurred.”

“It was a manageable process even though some of our specialists had been doing paper-based billing for as long as 30 years,” Bosma added. “We had to deal with a learning curve and getting comfortable with new processes, but the response has been very positive.”

“You’re not going to make paper any better; you have to find a better way that replaces it.”

JACQUELINE BOSMA, CONTROLLER, McCARTER & ENGLISH

Realizing the benefits of digital transformation

The switch to digital billing processes meant that only two people had to physically go into the office to manage the draft invoice flow during the first April of the pandemic.

The firm’s lawyers turned around their April invoices very quickly, Bosma said: “We gave our lawyers 10 days to review draft invoices, and about 90% had gotten them back to us within 5 days. It was remarkable.”

The bottom line: Automating the legal billing process has been highly beneficial for the firm. “If you have a big client that has a couple of law firms working for them and three are submitting invoices on the 10th, it’s not a good look if yours don’t show up until the 30th,” Bosma said. “You’re not going to make paper any better — you have to find a better way that replaces it.”

Executive summary

McCarter & English, LLP, an American full-service law firm with offices in 12 cities across the United States, uses legal billing software Intapp Billstream to automate and accelerate its billing process.

Prior challenges

  • Firm billing specialists had been using a paper-based invoicing process for more than 30 years.
  • The remote-work mandate at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a rapid solution with as few in-office employees as possible.
  • The new legal billing solution needed to integrate with existing firm technology.

Results with Intapp

  • A dramatically accelerated review process: With Intapp Billstream, the firm cut the time needed for draft invoice review by its lawyers in half — from 10 days to 5.
  • Rapid implementation: The firm’s transition from small pilot program to large-scale rollout increased the number of firm users from 7 to 130 in just 2 weeks.
  • Smooth integration: Intapp Billstream’s integration with the firm’s existing technology eliminated the need for costly, time-consuming customizations.