Outside Counsel Guidelines (also referred to as billing guidelines) are a set of agreed policies and expectations which outline the provision, billing and management of legal services.
In-house legal teams typically provide these to their external advisors. Effective OCGs contribute to frictionless relationships and optimised billing cycles, enabling both parties to focus on what’s important: solving crucial legal issues.
With Apperio, you can effortlessly monitor compliance with the guidelines you've established for your law firms. Any deviations from these agreements are promptly flagged, enabling you to address them with your legal partners.
To see how to view your OCG violations in Apperio, read our guide on Rate Violations & Outside Counsel Guidelines Flags in Apperio.
Outside Counsel Guidelines In Apperio
Apperio offers two options for checking for violations in your work. We can either check against your own set of rules or use our industry standard set OCGs.
If you don't already have OCGs agreed with your law firms, checking against our standard set will allow you to gauge how much money you could potentially save and kick off the process of agreeing to guidelines with your outside counsel.
Industry Standard Outside Counsel Guidelines
Our industry standard OCGs flag two key types of violations; block billing and non chargeable activities.
Block billing occurs when either a single line-item contains multiple activities or an attorney includes a line-entry with a vague description (e.g. “emails” - 8.1 hours) and the time attributed to the activity exceeds a certain threshold, often 6, 8 or 12 hours. This reduces the ability for in-house legal counsel to fairly scrutinise the work that has been performed.
Apperio will flag any work where the time recorded for a single entry is 8 hours or greater.
We typically reccommend that the penalty for block billing should be up to 10% (at the discretion of the instructing counsel) of the value of the entry:
Non - Chargeable Activities
Non - chargeable activities are any work which is considered to be part of the cost of providing a service. These costs should not be considered billable time.
Our standard guidelines break these out into four categories: law firm admin, clerical tasks, research and expenses.
Examples of these include:
Law Firm Admin: invoicing for work, training of staff and internal handovers.
Clerical Tasks: preparing bibles and scanning, faxing and arranging couriers.
Research: researching legal precedent or legal research subscription fees.
Expenses: food, transportation or accommodation expenses.
For more information about OCGs in Apperio speak to your Customer Success Manager or contact email@example.com