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Legal Billing and Predictive Coding

A fresh way to assess your legal spend.


In recent years, many corporate law departments and law firms have been challenged with the task of reducing the costs of delivering services. Similar to other businesses, in-house and outside counsel have sought to streamline activities and improve efficiencies. In order to do that, counsel needs to be able to assess their past and current billing activities.

Since their introduction about twenty years ago, Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) codes have brought some clarity to the billing and analytics process, even as the codes have suffered from significant limitations. However, innovations in analytics and predictive coding have introduced new possibilities to traditional UTBMS coding and reporting metrics. With the information that attorneys routinely provide within line-item descriptions in billing invoices, text analytics can be utilized to delve into the informational content of the task descriptions to predict what appropriate codes should be used. This may allow law firms and legal departments to:

  • Develop more meaningful metrics at a much lower cost
  • Gain more insight into cost-to-deliver services, which allows for a more strategic use of alternative billing arrangements
  • Improve partnerships between in-house and outside counsel

The UTBMS code set was developed to provide a common basis to organize legal activities on a multi-tier basis, so that firms and their clients could conduct electronic billing and analysis more efficiently and effectively. When used correctly, UTBMS codes can provide a profile of overall legal spend on a particular matter. Legal spend analysis facilitates effective budgeting by providing a consistent format for the reporting of all matters, allowing for better comparison with prior matters and improved estimates of future similar matters. Standardization of billing helps to increase transparency across different projects and different clients, which can reduce administrative efforts.

To learn more about legal spend management, the challenges and advancements associated with UTBMS code use and how to get more from your UTMBS codes download the full paper.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP and its affiliate, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP. Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP is not a certified public accounting firm. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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