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Start-Up Looks to Make Law Firm Billing More Transparent

13/04/2013 15:18

The world of big law has been buzzing with talk about billing, especially after a client of DLA Piper accused the giant law firm of inflating bills through overstaffing and  performing unnecessary work. Now, a start-up says it has a remedy.
David B. Schottenstein, a co-founder of a young company called Viewabill, says that nearly 80 law firms have signed on to his service, which aims to make the billing process more transparent. For a fee, Viewabill gives law firms a way to show their clients, in real time, what they’re being charged for. (Mr. Schottenstein says he reached out to DLA Piper on Thursday to pitch the law firm on his service. The law firm declined to comment.)
Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, a law firm with offices in the Midwest, is testing the Viewbill service with a few clients. “I like the transparency it will provide to clients,” John H. Banks, chief operating officer of Benesch, said in an e-mail.
No law firm wants to experience a public relations headache like DLA Piper had in March, the Viewabill pitch goes. DLA Piper, which contends its billing was proper, said in a memo to its lawyers that internal e-mails cited in the client’s lawsuit were an “offensive and inexcusable effort at humor.”
After selling his clothing company to a private equity firm, Mr. Schottenstein started Viewabill with Robbie Friedman, his lawyer and friend, who began his legal career at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. The inspiration came when the two devised a system to track Mr. Schottenstein’s legal bills.

Source: https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/04/12/start-up-looks-to-make-law-firm-billing-more-transparent/?ref=technology

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