Deutsche Bank leads radical e-billing drive

Deutsche Bank is leading a group of nine of the world’s largest financial institutions, together with Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Simmons & Simmons, in piloting a web-based information portal that it hopes will lead to an e-billing standard.

Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley have been the first banks to trial the portal, which is a means of sharing law firms’ client publications over the internet.

“Certainly we hope it will develop to give us access to a larger range of facilities, such as the law firms’ precedents and templates, transaction bibles and maybe even access to deal rooms,” said Deutsche Bank in-house lawyer Greg Bracken. “At some point we will certainly look at e-billing.”

Deutsche Bank enlisted senior lawyers at ABN Amro, Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs International, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS Investment Bank to form the Banking Legal Technology Group. Bracken said: “We chose five law firms. We decided to limit the numbers initially because it’s difficult to come to an agreement with too many parties. They’re taken from the major law firms we use and Simmons & Simmons because we felt that they have a technological bent as a result of Elexica.”

Bracken said that he expects to enlist the larger US law firms and other firms from around the globe, although sources at the law firms funding the project said they may not be so keen.