The ABA Litigation Task Code Set may be the most widely adopted and most widely adapted task code set. This is likely a product of a combination of factors: its age, a perception that litigation is the matter type most difficult to budget and a perception that litigation is the matter type most likely to result in cost overruns.
In the decades since the ABA Litigation Code Set was first published, the way in which cases are litigated, the scope of discovery, clients’ needs for budgeting granularity, and the renewed emphasis on non-hourly billing have all contributed to the perception that the ABA Litigation Code Set is in need of updating.
Indeed, through the years several groups have proposed code sets that reflect attempts to modify the original design to take into account changes in how cases are litigated or to rectify perceived weaknesses in the original code set. The efforts are welcome as the profession grapples with evolving frameworks to organize, measure and explain to clients the nuances of engagements.
To that end, the Working Group on Task Based Billing Codes has suggested a revised set of categories that reflect the common drivers of fees in a litigation matter and that are most useful to be scoped, planned, and monitored due to their distinctiveness and strategic significance. In addition, an effort was made to reduce perceived overlap between categories, and to map the order of the categories more directly to the litigation lifecycle.
The original ABA Litigation Task Code Set is found here: ABA UTBMS Litigation Code Set (original).
The discussion draft task code set is found here: Revised Litigation Draft Task Code Set.