Do you know how your bills are being used?

Your bills are more than just overdue. Clients are data mining them. And the insights being gained are incredible – especially once clients start sharing them with each other. The pressure to demonstrate value and provide more detail in bills might not be being driven by what you think.

Those detailed narrations are being analysed by powerful new analytics software to extract information about matter staffing, duration and cost to build a profile of each matter. Once every matter is profiled, in house counsel gain a complete overview of legal spend by firm. Competing firms can then be benchmarked against each other and compared.

But there’s more. Having pooled “hundreds of thousands” of real invoices together, Sky Analytics can benchmark more than just firms. Its extensive database means that it can analyse across practice groups, specialties, matters and even lawyers, giving users insight as to whether work could be shifted to a more competitive firm, lawyer or region.

Brightflag uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to read invoice narrations and break them down into specific tasks to discover potential red flags. These include the amount of time billed by junior lawyers, administrative support costs being billed, time billed in excess of 8 hours and for multiple lawyers attending teleconferences. Other solutions such as LexisNexis’ CounselLink Analytics, Thomson Reuters’ Legal Tracker and Acuity fill a similar role, while Justly takes a different approach for litigious matters - instead analysing court cases with a view to effectively scope and then track legal matters for in house counsel.

Delivering value is more important than ever with tools like these in client hands. While qualitative features about lawyers have long driven client spend, these solutions provide detailed data to drive resourcing decisions. Significantly, these datasets use real data from real matters. Your client can instantly know the reasonableness of any fee proposal, assess how hourly rates are benchmarked in the market and determine the probability of cost-savings through an alternative fee arrangement.

There might just be a reason why lawyers find themselves writing off significant time in alternative fee arrangements.

Do you, or your clients, use any of these solutions?