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An alliance of law firms, trade organizations, corporations and other legal industry stakeholders announced the release of its first set of billing codes Tuesday, as part of a wider project to build industrywide standards for describing and tracking legal matters.

The Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry (SALI) Alliance pegged its announcement to the 2019 Legalweek conference, unveiling Version One of its matter standards. The codes are broken down by various areas of law and also for different legal services.

While many law firms are already relying on codes to classify different types of legal work, the SALI “matter category standard” gives users enhanced flexibility to slice and dice data, particularly when it’s used to aggregate information from multiple organizations.

“ The SALI standard offers a unique coding for matters and simplifies how they can be managed, while improving our data analytics and reporting, digitizing procedures—moving the needle with measurable value,” Vince Cordo, central legal operations officer at Shell International, said in a statement. “Legal departments are accelerating the innovation process and the SALI standard is an enabler to that end.”

The SALI initiative dates back to 2017, when the Legal Marketing Association and Association of Legal Administrators agreed to work toward increased industry standardization to meet the end goal of more efficient and innovative legal services.

Now the alliance has broadened to include law firms such as Greenberg Traurig, Holland & Knight, Perkins Coie and Pepper Hamilton, companies such as Shell and GSK, and such information providers as Lexis, Bloomberg Law and Wolters Kluwer.

SALI says that it will publish the second release of its code in June during the Legal Marketing Association’s P3 conference. That supplement will further extend the taxonomy for location, jurisdiction, and other key business drivers of legal matters.

“It is exciting to see the standard come to life with our first release and reference implementation,” Toby Brown, SALI board member and chief practice management officer at Perkins Coie, said in a statement. “Our progress will accelerate now that it is being deployed in real-world settings both in law firm and client environments. We are now marching forward from the drawing board to actual practice.”

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