Goldman Sachs bins paper billing

US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is taking an innovative step in managing its external legal costs by moving away from traditional paper billing.

After a six-month consultation process, Goldman has rolled out a system, in conjunction with Herbert Smith, which will enable the bank to receive electronic bills. The system allows bills, together with a narrative detailing the work the firm has done for Goldman on particular matter, to be transmitted to the bank’s intranet site.

Electronic billing has recently become more popular in the US. Goldman is understood to be the first bank to introduce such a system in the UK. Its main advantage is that the details of Goldman’s external legal spend will be more readily available to the staff who manage relationships with advisers.

Commenting on the initiative, one Herbert Smith partner said: “This is largely to make life easier for themselves [Goldman]. But the real problem is that we’ve got to be more organised.”

Goldman declined to comment.