The human factor

Matt Byrne

DWF, already one of the most efficient firms in the UK 200 when it comes to billing, is taking out even more of the human element in its procedures. Rivals, look and learn.

Two years ago DWF introduced an automated billing system that forwards bills to fee-earners according to a pre-defined cycle. Now it’s considering a workflow for the entire billing process, the upshot of which is that anyone involved in a matter will be able to see the current stage of the bill and act accordingly. The idea is not only to increase accountability, efficiency and transparency but also, as DWF finance director Alex Hodgson points out, to reduce lockup each month by up to 10 days.

Next year should see DWF roll out e-billing, which it already uses for insurance and banking clients, across the board. And all this as DWF continues to grow organically and via mergers.

DWF’s moves underline it as one of the tightest-run firms, at least financially, in the UK. Meanwhile, in contrast, another hefty player has just acknowledged some billing-related headaches. Berwin Leighton Paisner managing partner Neville Eisenberg is currently coming in for a bit of a kicking online at after admitting his firm has been facing increased pricing pressure from top 10 firms and the magic circle. As one wag puts it on the story, “Saying you are being kicked in the backside by the magic circle is a pretty hopeless public position for a silver circle firm”.

Still, at least it’s transparent.

Talking of transparency, check out Recommind’s opinion article on predictive coding and why it is still in a slow adoption phase.

Matt Byrne
Feature editor