The Significant Role of Billing Software in Matter Management

On the surface, it is often easy to look at billing as the conclusion of a phase or engagement. But the fact is that it can also be a source of valuable information to set the foundation for planning and strategizing for the future.

Matter management – that is, effective matter management – has long been the backbone of a well-functioning legal department. The list of disparate entities and activities to track can seem like an administrative hydra at times:

  • Numerous law firms, attorneys, and paralegals
  • Types of legal work, industries, and other classifications
  • Judges, witnesses, opposing counsel
  • Documents, budgets, e-mails, deadlines, and invoices
  • Ancillary services, such as court reporters and copy services

Modern software has tamed the hydra with organizational capabilities to collect, categorize, store, and deliver data involving all kinds of matter and multilayered details.


Billing software takes a critical component of the process and delivers additional value in many facets:

  • Accuracy: Technology eliminates the potential for errors that can come with manual data entry
  • Efficiency: Time-consuming tasks are now automated and lightning-quick; the ability to streamline billing and issue resolution.
  • Validation: Billing guidelines that limit hours, billing rates, overtime, and expenses or institute other restrictions can be incorporated and trigger alerts or auto-rejection when invoices fail to adhere to the rules.
  • Information: Tracking timekeeper attributes, vendor payments, hourly rates, client codes, and other detailed data create a storehouse of valuable facts and figures for analysis.

This font of information can provide insight into both broad spending patterns and financial nooks and crannies. A key to reaping the most from an e-billing system is to discuss how to handle invoices and other input (e.g., consistent entries beget consistent reports), what information needs to be collected, and what the end goals are to accomplish, and when to conduct spot-checking reconsider billing guidelines.

With this billing-generated knowledge, you can make data-driven decisions quickly and confidently. Among other perspectives, this granular data can reveal litigation trends, total legal team participation distribution, and even individual attorney effectiveness. This can be golden when negotiating, considering alternative fee arrangements, and predicting and controlling costs. It also allows General Counsel to work with law firms on the strategic approach to cases from a cost management perspective and budget more effectively going forward.

As with most technology-driven processes, it is also important to remember that e-billing and matter management will not function optimally if allowed to be static and grow stale. Meet with your account manager, who should stay on top of system improvements developed and industry best practices – and how they can support your company’s vision.

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