Counseling Overview

Uniform Task-Based Management System


The Uniform Task-Based Management System is designed to enable the providers and recipients of legal services to track, by time and task, cost information on legal services and to implement budgeting and billing systems utilizing this information. The first set of standards issued under the Uniform Task-Based Management System was the Litigation Code Set, which was released in May 1995.

This document presents the Counseling Code Set, the Project Code Set and the Bankruptcy Code Set and related definitions. These code sets were developed by a sponsoring group of major corporate clients and law firms coordinated and supported by Price Waterhouse LLP. The Bankruptcy Code Set is derived from the code set published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for the United States Trustee.

The Counseling and Project Code Sets are designed to be adaptable to all practice areas and matter types. As such, the phases and tasks defined in these code sets are more general in nature. The Steering Committee concluded that it would not be practicable to develop practice-specific task codes. The group decided instead to develop a standard that specifies the principal categories or types of tasks undertaken on most non-litigation matters (e.g., due-diligence, negotiation, documentation, rather than identifying tasks unique to each area of practice (e.g., tenant lease for real estate).

Effective implementation of the Uniform Task-Based Management System depends on effective communication between counsel and client. It is necessary to confirm which code sets should be used at the initiation of work. For example, there might exist a situation in which the Counseling Code Set is initially used to capture time spent on informal discussions on a particular issue, which after some time turns into a more formally defined matter for which the Project Code Set is appropriate.

The Counseling, Project and Bankruptcy Code Sets use the same list of activity and expense codes presented in the Litigation Code Set.

The Steering Committee participants recognize that there has been less experience in the use of task-based codes for commercial projects and general counseling than for litigation matters. As such, it is anticipated that discussion within the industry on the counseling and project codes will ensue and appropriate revisions may be made as these codes come into broader use. Currently there is no mechanism within the legal industry to maintain, refine and update the Code Sets. Until such a group or process is established by a recognized and representative professional organization within the industry, Price Waterhouse LLP will continue to provide informal leadership and information sharing services in this area. Comments should be addressed to the following individuals at Price Waterhouse LLP:

Mr. Jonathan P. Bellis
Ms. Kathryn K. Parker
Mr. David N. Horne

Law Firm & Law Department Consulting Group
Price Waterhouse LLP
1177 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036