Wolters Kluwer Brings Machine Learning to Legal Invoice Analysis

Corporate legal departments and insurance claims organizations that receive large numbers of outside-counsel invoices now have a new tool available to them to help review invoices and ensure that they accurately and consistently adhere to billing guidelines.

Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions today launched LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer, a service that combines machine learning and other advanced technologies with human expertise to help ensure compliance with billing guidelines and achieve savings in legal fees.

David Moran, senior director for product management, legal analytics portfolio, told me during a preview yesterday that corporate legal departments that had been testing this service had seen savings of 4 to 8 percent off outside counsel invoices, even after the firms had been given the opportunity to correct invoice entries and remedy non-compliance with billing rules.

The service is best suited for companies that have a high volume of outside counsel invoices — at least 300 to 500 a month — and that work with a number of different law firms, Moran said. The service integrates with WK’s e-billing products TyMetrix 360, Passport and Passport Pro, and the service is also available to legal departments using other e-billing platforms.

Machine learning is used to understand the company’s billing guidelines and billing history and is then applied to perform a granular, line-by-line analysis of invoices. It also helps a company understand how its outside firms compare against each other in billing rates and time spent for similar work.

Using the machine-learning algorithm and natural-language processing, the service tags and scores different line items within invoices. Expert human reviewers then review the tagged and scored items to determine whether adjustments should be made. The machine-tagging speeds the work and accuracy of the human reviewers, Moran said.

Beyond the immediate task of invoice review, the service provides long-term benefits to both corporations and their outside firms, Moran suggested, in that firms will get better at invoicing accurately and legal departments will get more accurate information about the work being done for them.

The service includes a further human element, which is relationship management with outside counsel. WK’s staff attorneys and paralegals will work directly with outside counsel to manage the negotiation and appeals process for invoice revisions.