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Task based billing codes for litigation were introduced by the ABA as an initiative of the ABA Section of Litigation, the American Corporate Counsel Association (now the Association of Corporate Counsel), and a sponsoring group of major corporate law departments and law firms coordinated and supported by Price Waterhouse LLP. Thereafter a Counseling Code Set, Project Code Set, and Bankruptcy Code Set were developed by a sponsoring group of major corporate law departments and law firms coordinated and supported by Price Waterhouse LLP.  Subsequently a Workers Compensation Code Set was developed.

The Litigation Code Set has formed the basis for most, if not all, schemes to record and bill time on an hourly basis. As there have been changes in practice (e.g., electronically stored information and so-called “e-discovery”) and changes in client needs (e.g., more and more clients insisting on a greater percentage of their work being handled on a basis other than hourly fees), it has become apparent that the ABA task based billing codes are in need of updating to keep them relevant to our membership.

In 2017–2018, ABA President Hilarie Bass created the ABA Working Group on Task Based Billing Codes, which she challenged to develop resources to help ABA members respond to these changing circumstances. 

ABA Working Group on Task Based Billing Codes

The ABA Working Group on Task Based Billing Codes has created a Task Code Set Toolkit as an ABA member benefit resource to assist in the development of detailed work plans and the pricing and scoping of those plans. 

The goal of this toolkit is to facilitate communication between lawyer and client about the engagement’s deliverables, their respective fees and the definition of success.

Ultimately the purpose of any task code set and any budgeting effort is to align the expectations of clients and their lawyers about the parameters of work to be undertaken by the lawyer. These code sets are suggestions on a methodology to achieve that alignment.  They can and should be modified as particular circumstances or engagement warrant.

Working Group Members

Lead Members

William Garcia
Chair, Chief Practice Innovation Officer
Thompson Hine LLP (Washington, DC) 

Alan H. Batchelder
Director of Strategic Business Analysis
Cooley LLP (Reston, VA)

Matthew Beekhuizen
Chief Pricing Officer
Greenberg Traurig (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Jim Hannigan
Project Manager
Fenwick & West, SALI Matter Category Standard Initiative, LEDES Oversight Committee (Mountain View, CA)

David Rueff
Shareholder/Legal Project Management Officer
Baker Donelson (Jackson, MS) 

Working Group

Warren Agin
Analytic Law LLC (Boston, MA) 

Tom Cullinan
Eversheds Sutherland (Atlanta, GA)

Marissel Descalzo
Tache Bronis (Miami, FL)

Shelley Geppert
Eimer Stahl (Chicago, IL) 

Jeff Greenbaum
Sills Cummins (Newark, NJ)

Zachary Newman
HahnHessen (New York, NY)

Harry Payton
Payton & Associates, LLC  (Miami, FL) 

David Sprentall
Snell & Witmer (Phoenix, AZ)


Joseph Braunreuther
Senior Counsel
Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, NJ)

Justin Ergler
Director, Alternative Fee Intelligence and Analytics
Glaxo Smith Kline (Research Triangle Park, NC) 

Amar Sarwal
Chief Legal Strategist
Association of Corporate Counsel (Washington, DC)

What's Next

It is the ABA’s intention that this toolkit continue to grow and be developed with additional templates and other resources.

The current plan is to update this tool as new resources become available.

The Section of Litigation has agreed to host the effort to maintain this  page.

To learn more about the development and use of matter specific task code sets, contact a working group member or get involved with an ABA entity with interest in the topic.

If you are interested in volunteering to work on maintaining this tool, or if you have a template or tool to contribute to this tool, please contact the ABA Section of Litigation Director, Cecilia Kukenis.