Twenty years ago, a prominent legal bill auditor told the WSJ that he offered to give away his services to law firms to help them improve the way they billed their clients. He said that he “didn’t get any takers.”
Fast forward twenty years and many law firms now realize that they do need help in how they bill clients, particularly insurers, for their services. Today attorneys well know that regular legal bill reviews or audits can result in reductions in legal bills that cut into a firm’s cash flow. While many attorneys choose to challenge or appeal the reductions, many other attorneys just simply write off the reductions as a “cost of doing business” with the client.
Unfortunately, what the attorneys who either choose to appeal reductions or write them off do not realize is that they are all in the same boat if their billing error rates are considered high by the insurer. This is because that just being on a list of attorneys or firms with high billing error rates makes them prime candidates for removal from an insurer’s panel counsel list. Continue reading
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll wind up somewhere else. . .” Yogi Berra
Harking back to my days as a litigation claims manager, manager of in-house staff counsel, and now consultant to insurers on litigation management and legal cost saving issues, I probably have reviewed thousands of legal files in cases throughout the United States ranging from simple slip and fall cases to workers comp to complex CD, IP, and toxic tort cases. One thing I consistently notice in many files I reviewed is the lack of a focused litigation plan or worse yet, no litigation plan at all.
All too often I see a generic transmittal to the defense attorney of the suit, the claim file, and instructions to “file appropriate answer and begin discovery” or “let me know your thoughts on how we should proceed.” Hardly the right signal to initially send the defense attorney that the company wants a specific resolution focused objective with a narrowly focused litigation plan.
It is vital that the adjuster be actively engaged in the litigation planning process. To be sure, I have noted that the more experienced the litigation adjuster is, the more likely it is that probative questions will be asked or meaningful comments or changes proposed to the proposed litigation plan. But, even less experienced adjusters, who have little to offer but questions, can add meaningfully to the process. Continue reading