Legalsense optionally offers the ability to export invoices to the LEDES 1998B format. This type of file is widely used to electronically exchange invoices which can then be read in detail into a client's accounting system.
LEDES (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard) is a 'standard' that is not always used as a 'standard'. In our experience many clients have a different interpretation of the standard. This is partly due to certain shortcomings of the standard that have been corrected/improved in later versions. Later versions (than the 1998B version) are still used much less. Legalsense currently only supports the 1998B version but is flexible in setting up different variants of that standard.
When the LEDES function is activated in Legalsense, an 'Export' option is available for each invoice. There an invoice can be downloaded in different versions of the LEDES 1998B format. By default, one version is available that is based on the standard used by Tymetrix, one of the e-billing platform providers. A TXT version and an Excel version can be downloaded. LEDES is in TXT (text) format but to make the content more readable, an Excel version has also been added. This can be modified (if needed) and exported from Excel back to a text file (using a 'pipe' | as the separator).
LEDES uses specific codes to indicate exactly what was done (time entries) or billed (disbursements). These codes are based on the UTBMS (Uniform Task Based Management System). In Legalsense the correct codes can be entered per activity (type) and per expense type. For example: 'Study documents' can be given the LEDES Task code C100 and the Activity code A102 (Research). These codes are not entered by default by Legalsense and will therefore always have to be added by the office itself.
In addition to the codes for the activities and disbursements, there are also abbreviations for the function of the employees (timekeepers) that are mandatory in the LEDES format. In Legalsense, these abbreviations can be specified at the functions ('Settings - Lists - Functions'). Common abbreviations are PT for Partner and AS for Associate, although modern versions are longer again (e.g. ASSOC).
Office expenses, VAT
LEDES is an originally American standard. In the United States, office expenses (a percentage surcharge on the fee) and VAT are not common components of a legal services invoice. The support for office expenses and VAT in LEDES 1998B is not well present. Later LEDES standards do have better support for these components. Legalsense offers the possibility to include office expenses as an 'Expense' line. VAT cannot be included. It is therefore not possible to export an invoice with VAT completely to LEDES. Fortunately, LEDES is mainly used by foreign organizations where VAT is then not applicable.