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Analyzing historical data to compare law firm costs and efficiency becomes easier if you have your law firms standardize electronic invoices using the Uniform Task-based Management System (UTBMS) codes for various types of matters and tasks, and LEDES (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard), for the invoice format.

The UTBMS Litigation Code Set, for example, is grouped into five phases: case assessment, development and administration; pre-trial pleadings and motions; discovery; trial preparation and trial; and appeal. Then each phase contains codes for specific tasks, including written discovery, document production and depositions.

United Technologies uses this approach. “UTC elected to use the industry standard [UTBMS codes and LEDES format] for outside counsel submission of electronic invoices,” says Kim Townsan, senior manager of legal administration at UTC.