The most obvious answer to this predicament lies in your expectations from the outside counsel and in the assessment of the benefits vs the risk of employing them to get the job done. Your company’s legal department has more than enough on their plate and you want to find means to ease their burdens, not add to them. And so, we address the question at hand-should working with outside counsel be troublesome? No, not at all. The key factor to optimizing your working relationship with outside counsel is to establish high levels of transparency.
Stricter billing guidelines that break it down to every activity and expense can be a good way to start. Think about where it tends to go wrong- the inconsistencies and subsequent disputes in billing- that tend to dampen a potential great working relationship. If your guidelines are not specific enough, you are just piling on the work of your inner counsel who will then have to review the outside counsel invoices and scrutinize each entry to detect any overcharge. While giving in to being overcharged is not an option, you should remember that this is time that is better spent elsewhere.
And what is the best way to go about this?
Standardizing the billing process and automizing it in such a manner that the descriptions on the invoices are clear and concise, leaving no room for doubt. The UTBMS and LEDES codes have been designed to provide a certain level of clarity upon which you can base your billing expectations. Using trusted legal billing software can help you build better relations with the outside counsel as the whole process is rendered stress-free and improves the accuracy tremendously.
Remember, a good professional relationship is all about maintaining trust. The best way to ensure that your outside counsel is fully aware of your expectations is to open an honest channel of communication and layout your expectations in the guidelines before onboarding them. One way to ensure that the outside counsel you work with maintains compliance with your billing guidelines is to recommend a secure and advanced billing platform to them, such as ALB.
Using ALB’s 1.0 and 2.0 versions of billing software, your clients can maintain maximum compliance with your billing guidelines and easily integrate with any platform mandated by you. Click here to know more about our products.