What is legal bill auditing?
Legal bill auditing is typically the analysis of the the accuracy and reasonability of time and expenses contained in legal bills. Legal audits provide substantial reductions in legal cost and is a necessity in order to both satisfy due dilligence and to prevent overbilling. Legal bill auditing differs from strictly financial accounting in that there is no “generally accepted” principles tied to the practice. Experience, methods and approaches vary from service to service, and it is important for your organization’s spend management to choose your legal bill auditing service carefully.
Why should I trust Lether Consulting with my audits rather than a computer program?
We are uniquely qualified because we are in the legal business and have been for over 32 years. Our services include an exhaustive legal audit with a line-by-line review of every entry on the bills with great attention to details that often are overlooked by a one size fits all approach. We provide levels specific to your needs, and start with a basic assessment of your legal billing system and overview of the billing guidelines. From there we work with you to develop “your needs based strategy” thereby increasing vendor accountability and your revenues. We want to transform the audit service into an opportunity for insight, understanding and improving your profitability. We assist our clients in reducing overbilling by law firms with a manual approach to our review process.
What do audits look at?
When conducting an audit, we primarily look at the following:
- Are the bills accurate?
- Are time and expenses billed properly?
- Are the amounts reasonable?
- Are the billing guidelines being followed?
How are audits charged?
There are several approaches auditors may take in charging their clients. Some charge a certain percentage of the gross legal fees and costs that are under audit, some charge a contingency fee on the savings achieved through the audit, and some charge a flat rate. At Lether Consulting we charge a flat fee per invoice.
Will an audit of a law firm negatively affect our relationship?
On the contrary. By working together with each individual law firm, we are able to build mutual trust and credibility that will strengthen your working relationship going forward. Reviewing legal spending improves efficiency within a law firm. Efficiency and cost containment benefits everyone. An efficient law firm is a reliable and desirable law firm, and we work with both the busniess and the law firm to come to this mutual understanding.
What are some billing practices that should be scrutinized?
The list is long, and if you don’t know what to look for, finding them can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, with over three decades of experience in the legal field and in legal billing, our team specializes in pinpointing scruitinized billing practices. We have illustrated some of the most common scruitinized billing practices in the graph to the right.
TOP DEDUCTIONS BY CATEGORY
- Time not in correlation with task 43% 43%
- Administrative expense 30% 30%
- Expenses in excess of $50.00 without itemized receipt 26% 26%
- Duplication of efforts 21% 21%
- Unapproved timekeeper or timekeeper rate 16% 16%
- Vague description 16% 16%
- Administrative or clerical 11% 11%
- Block billed 9% 9%
- Non-billable overhead 7% 7%
- Exceeds approved budget 6% 6%