Get Started With LEDES

LEDES (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard) is a standardized invoicing format used by law firms to ensure that invoices remain simple and unambiguous. This format functions as a time and materials detailed export. This format consists of a line item for every time and expense entry, and contains details such as:

  • Matter ID (ie, Project ID)
  • Total invoice amount
  • Date of entry
  • Activity code
  • Billable hours
  • Bill rate
  • Entry Notes
  • Staff member

There are three parts to getting up and running with LEDES: activate LEDES, update Basic Code Values, and enter the necessary fields for your project and staff. We’ll walk you through each part in this article.

Activate LEDES

First, let’s activate this feature. 

1. Click INVOICING...CONFIGURE from your navigation bar.

Then, click DEFAULTS.

2. Scroll to the bottom of your window, and check the setting to ENABLE LEDES BILLING/EXPORT

Click SAVE. This will give you the ability to export invoices in the LEDES billing format.

The LEDES billing format requires a business number. So a field has been added to your Company Info (MY COMPANY...MY COMPANY...COMPANY INFO) window where you can enter your firm’s business number.

Since you're going to be using LEDES, there are some additional fields you will need to configure in your BigTime firm. We’ll walk through that next.


Update Basic Codes Values

To be compatible with LEDES, there are some changes to your Basic Codes tab you ought to make. Follow the steps below to get to this tab and make the changes.

1. Click MY COMPANY...FIELD VALUES from your navigation bar.

You’ll default into the BASIC CODES...ACTIVITY CODES tab, which is where you want to be.

Activity Codes (ie, Labor Codes and Expense Codes) should be configured to match the LEDES format. This isn't required, but will ensure the LEDES export file contains the industry-standard codes.

NOTE: If a line item consists of an activity code that is not in the standard format, that line item will export to the Task Code column.

Next, you need to create a custom field: LEDES Matter ID. This field is required. Optionally, you can add two more fields: Timekeeper ID and Timekeeper Classification. Create these fields if your firm wants to control these values.

Timekeeper ID and Timekeeper Classification are custom fields created on the staff record; Matter ID is acustom fieldcreated on the project record.

Here’s what you need to know about these fields:
LEDES Timekeeper Id- This field refers to the custom field on the Staff Record. If there isn’t one, then BigTime will default to the staff SID (system ID).
LEDES Classification- This field refers to the custom field on the Staff Record. If there isn’t one, then this value will be blank in the LEDES export. 
LEDES Matter ID- This field reflects the custom field on the Project.


Enter Necessary Fields in Bigtime

Now you’re ready to enter some necessary data in BigTime both at the staffer and project level. Let’s start on the staff record for a staffer.


Staff Record Set Up

Click MY COMPANY...STAFF LIST from your navigation bar. 

Then click on a staffer’s name. 

On the staff record, input the values for the TIMEKEEPER ID andLEDES CLASSIFICATION

Recall from above that these values aren’t required. If no Timekeeper ID is set, then BigTime will use the Staff SID for that column in the LEDES file. If no LEDES Classification value is set, then that column will be blank; the user will have to manually enter it to their exported file.


Project Set-Up

Next, you will want to add the LEDES Matter ID (explained above in Update Basic Codes Values). This Matter ID corresponds to the Project ID. 

Click MY COMPANY...PROJECT LIST from your navigation bar.

Then select a project. Scroll to the end of your window on the Project tab, and enter the LEDES MATTER ID

Now staffers can enter their time and expenses to the Matter. When the Matter is ready for billing, the user can begin creating their invoice.

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