Associate editor Caroline Hill reports… Frankfurt-based e-billing startup BusyLamp is to expand into London having opened an office in Manhattan in December 2014. The web-based supplier – which claims to save corporates 10% or more on external advisers’ fees – tracks advisers’ billing information before they invoice it; monitors their compliance with pre-agreed guidelines; and blocks fees that fall outside of those guidelines.

Founded by former Allen & Overy Frankfurt corporate lawyer Manuel Meder and former White & Case senior associate Michael Tal, the company has been working closely with the legal team within European commercial property developer ECE, where associate general counsel Wolfgang Kaumanns said: “With BusyLamp, we can see and check the recorded times of each lawyer almost immediately (or at least within 24 hours). If our in-house lawyers have doubts on specific records, they can scrutinise the records critically and, if there’s a problem, reject them within the system.”

BusyLamp also incorporates a legal procurement module, which automates the issuance and evaluation of requests for proposals, requests for cost estimates and legal matter staffing plans. Bryan King, who has held senior IT development roles at law firms including Linklaters and Clifford Chance and is now an independent legal e-billing consultant, said: “I call this approach ‘beyond e-billing’ and some major clients are now requiring their external law firms to begin to provide this level of costs, WIP, staffing resources and expenses detail in a more timely fashion.”

BusyLamp is the latest of a series of e-billing startups, which include automated billing and tracking software providers Apperio and Viewabill, the latter of which is working with half of the American Lawyer 100. The announcement comes as Thomson Reuters announced today (5 March) that its e-billing and matter management platform Serengeti Tracker closed 2014 with more than 800 clients on its roster, an increase of over 240% over a period of four years.