Cryptic Language Could Cut Your Law Firm Fees In Billing Disputes

Posted on: 18 June 2020

In a recession, more companies are tightening their belts. Legal bills are a key area being targeted for cost reductions. Companies are saving money by having legal billing vendors review bills for cost savings. You could accept these billing adjustments. But it could end up being a large cut from your earnings.

Increasingly, these reviews are being conducted by AI-driven bill reviews. Oftentimes they are not, in fact, finding evidence of misbilling on the lawyer's part. Rather they are comparing your legal billing for such-and-such service to the average charged by law firms nationally for that service. 

You can avoid having your fees reduced to the national average common denominator. Following are three of the most common billing complaints legal billing consultants find that are caused by cryptic or overly general language. 


The current hot button issue in legal billing forensics is delegable time. Did a senior lawyer charge five hours for a review of a document? Three hours for document preparation? Could a paralegal have done that? "Document review" and "preparing documents" are two of the cryptic phrases most often challenged in legal billing disputes by legal billing consultants. You can avoid requests for a reallocation of charges to a paralegal or junior lawyer fee by providing more detail.

Excessive Charges

Here's where the algorithm finds a lot of billing items to contend because your charge, evidently, is not in line with the national average. By clearly differentiating your service in the billing description, you can avoid your services being inaccurately compared to those of other lawyers. And if the item charged is questioned, you will not look unethical by changing the description retroactively. 

Duplicate Charges

Was it really a duplicate charge, or was the item not recorded correctly? The more detail you provide, the less apt the algorithm is to find duplicate charges. If, while defending a patent lawsuit, you were "preparing evidence" while also conducting a patent search at the same time, state that you held a conference meeting with scientific expert witnesses, while the paralegal researched patents on X technology. These details will give the algorithm less to probe. 

Cryptic billing descriptions are at the source of many billing disputes. The time spent sorting out billing discrepancies is often worth more than the reduction in fees being demanded. Work to find ways to automate your timekeeping and reduce errors. If bills are disputed, items can quickly be verified.


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