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Outside Counsel Electronic Billing Deskbook
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Chapters

  1. Representing the FDIC
  2. Conflicts of Interest
  3. Legal Services Agreement
  4. Legal Referral
  5. Case Management
  6. Case Plan and Budget
  7. Electronic Invoice (E-Invoice) Preparation and Submission
  8. Legal Matter Closeout
  9. Post-Representation
      Responsibilities
 10. Foreign Laws Firms

Appendices

  1. Contacts
  2. Statutory Compliance
  3. Record Retention Guidelines for E-billing
     
  4. Legal Services -
    Delegations of Authority
  1. Litigation & Resolutions Branch
  2. Corporate Operations Branch
  3. Supervision Branch
  4. Consumer & Legislation Branch
  1. Validation Criteria

E-invoice Preparation and Submission

7.1
E-invoice Package
This chapter covers the procedures for preparing and submitting an E-invoice to the FDIC.  The FDIC uses a third party E-billing service provider to provide E-billing capability.  Outside Counsel submits E-invoices to the Automated Invoice Management System (AIMS) provided by the third party E-billing service provider.

An E-invoice package consists of the following: 
  • An E-invoice file for uploading to the AIMS;   
  • All original receipts and other supporting documentation (which must be maintained in Outside Counsel’s files for audit purposes).  

As discussed in Chapter 6 (Case Plan and Budget), you must have an approved Budget from the FDIC before you can be paid. An approved Budget gives you the “all clear” to submit an E-invoice for payment of your services.

7.2 E-invoice Preparation
Each month Outside Counsel should prepare an E-invoice to be uploaded to AIMS for each matter assigned to the firm unless the amount (fees and expenses) to be billed is less than $500.  If the amount (fees and expenses) is less than $500, Outside Counsel should prepare E-invoices on a quarterly basis, unless doing so would cause undue hardship to the firm.

Outside Counsel should prepare E-invoices for fees and expenses within 30 days of the last day in your billing period, except as noted above.

At the conclusion or termination of the matter, Outside Counsel should prepare the final E-invoice for fees and expenses within 90 days of the matter’s conclusion or termination.  Refer to Chapter 8 and Chapter 9.

NOTE: Outside Counsel may not bill the FDIC more than once per month. Outside Counsel also may not bill for overlapping service periods (e.g. May 1 through May 31 and then May 15 through June 15).

Failure to submit E-invoices in a timely manner as set forth above may significantly delay the FDIC’s processing and payment of the E-invoice.

ABSENT EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, THE FDIC WILL NOT PAY E-INVOICES SUBMITTED OVER ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE THAT SERVICES ARE RENDERED.

The FDIC assigns each matter a different matter number. The matter number must be entered on each E-invoice that is uploaded to the AIMS.  The screen below is the first of two screens used by Outside Counsel to capture fee and expense data.

Screen shot of E-invoice

The second screen, as seen below, captures detailed fee and expense charges for the matter.

Screen shot of E-invoice

Fees

Block Billing of Services
Time billed for each fee or expense should be identified separately.  Do not combine different types of activities in one entry on the E-invoice.  “Block billing” of fees is not acceptable, even if the same individual performed the activities, except for multiple, related activities for which only a small amount of time (no more than 30 minutes) is expended. 

Description of Fees
The description of the service provided should be brief and informative.

 Not Acceptable

 Acceptable

"Research"

"Legal research on statute of limitations issues."

"Telephone calls"

"Telephone calls to J. James and M. Smith re: motion to dismiss."

Time Increments
Billing in increments of greater than 0.1 billing hour (6 minutes) is unacceptable.

Expenses

  • Use the following format for expenses:

  • Copy charges (unit cost multiplied by unit amount).

  • Fax charges (date, phone number, and amount); telephone long distance charge (line charge) is the only acceptable charge.

  • Long distance telephone charges (date, phone number, and amount).

  • Overnight delivery (date, amount and name to whom delivery was sent).

  • Electronic research, including the Legal Research Bank, (date, amount and name of person performing research).

  • Extraordinary postage (i.e., bulk or certified mail) (date and amount).

Claims for travel-related expenses must be made using the FDIC’s Law Firm Travel Voucher - Word (see also the sample travel voucher).

 

7.3 E-invoice Submission and Validation
Submission

Specific instructions on how to upload the E-invoice to AIMS will be provided to Outside Counsel by the FDIC’s E-billing service provider.

Validation
When the E-invoice is uploaded to AIMS a validation process will occur. If the E-invoice does not meet the following validation rules it will be rejected and returned to Outside Counsel for corrections.  Once corrections are made the E-invoice should be resubmitted, under the same invoice number, to the E-billing service provider.

Mandatory Validations:
Invoice line items math must be correct
Invoice line items must equal total invoice amount
Only one matter may be billed per invoice
Vendor must submit invoice with valid matter number
Vendor must submit invoice with valid vendor number (Note: DC will auto-populate the vendor number)
Vendor must be associated to matter it is billing against
Invoice Number cannot be greater than 20 characters
Invoice Number can only contain alpha numeric characters

If the E-invoice does not meet the following validation rules the E-invoice file will be accepted by the FDIC with warnings that certain rules require further FDIC review.

Configurable Validations:
Date Validations
Line item date cannot be older than 62 days from the Invoice Date
Line item date should fall between Invoice Start and End Date
Billing Start date should be the first day of the month
Billing End date should be the last day of the month
Invoice date cannot be more than 90 days from the invoice received date

Timekeeper Validations

Timekeepers are required for all fee line items
Timekeeper IDs must be valid
Timekeeper rates must be valid

Line Item Validations
The following task and expense codes should be flagged

  • E106 (Online research)
  • E109 (Local Travel)
  • E111 (Meals)
  • E124 (Other)

The following task and expense codes are not allowed

  • E101 (Copy Charges) cannot exceed $.08
  • E103 (Word Processing)
  • E108 (Postage)

The following words in the line item description will be flagged for Fees

  • DataCert, overtime, file review, revision, invoice preparation

The following words in the line item description will be flagged for Expenses

  • Westlaw, Lexis, Nexis, electronic research

Invoice line items may only contain fee rates billed in .10 increments

7.4 Billable Fees and Expenses
You may bill the FDIC reasonable charges for fees and expenses in accordance with the following guidelines.

Fees
You may bill the FDIC reasonable fees at approved LSA rates or other billing arrangements approved by FDIC in writing for:

·   Legal work on matters as approved; and
·
   Travel time (when no substantive FDIC work is performed) at 50% of
    approved LSA rate.

NOTE: The FDIC requires law firms to reduce the hourly rate charged by 50% while an attorney is traveling unless legal work is being performed for the FDIC. The FDIC does not pay for First Class airfares or luxury hotel accommodations. The FDIC will pay only for air travel at coach rates, and accommodations at the lower of the government or corporate discount rates. Travel-related expenses must be incurred in a prudent manner and in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the E-billing Deskbook. Outside Counsel is required to keep on file all original receipts and other supporting documentation for any and all expenses incurred.








 

Compensation cannot be based upon a contingent fee arrangement unless specifically approved in writing. Absent express Legal Division permission, experts and other professional service providers may only be compensated for fees and expenses in accordance with the requirements of this E-billing Deskbook. The Legal Division considers your oversight of experts and other professional service providers an important duty under your legal referral. Outside Counsel is required to keep on file all subcontractor invoices and original receipts for expenses submitted by subcontractors in the event the FDIC performs an audit of the matter. Note: if it is necessary for outside counsel to retain local counsel or other outside counsel, that local counsel or other outside counsel law firm will be referred to as the subcontractor within the approved budget and case plan, and will not need to submit a separate case plan or budget form to the FDIC for approval. See section 5.4 for additional information on outside counsel retaining the services of another law firm.

Expenses
You may bill the FDIC reasonable charges for the following expenses. Requirements for submitting copies of receipts are indicated below. These requirements do not alter your duty to maintain original receipts and other supporting documentation for all expenses for audit purposes.

  • Itemized in-house copy charges (no more than $.08 per page).
  • Itemized fax charges (telephone long distance charge (line charge) is the only acceptable charge).
  • Itemized long distance telephone charges.
  • Itemized overnight delivery. Itemization should include name of person to whom the delivery was sent and the name and type of delivery service used.
  • Itemized electronic research. Itemization should include person’s name who is performing the research and the name of the service provider. In addition, the FDIC Research Bank should be consulted before any legal research is performed and it should be itemized in the description for that entry on the E-invoice that you have done so. Prior approval by the Oversight Attorney is required for electronic research.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses relating to providing training to FDIC.
  • Itemized extraordinary postage (i.e., bulk or certified mail).
  • Expert witnesses and other professional service providers.
  • Investigators.
  • Court reporters.
  • Outside photocopying.
  • Publication notices.
  • Other Subcontractors, if approved.  The name of the subcontractor, the name of the person that performed the work, a description of the work performed, the date, and the charge must be noted in the description for that entry on the E-invoice.
  • Filing Fees. Please note that Outside Counsel should not bill for federal court fees when filing on behalf of the FDIC. A description of the filing fees including the court, and type of fee must be noted in the description for that entry on the E-invoice.
  • Other case-specific (non-overhead) expenses.  A description of the expenses must be noted in the description for that entry on the E-invoice. Approval should be documented in the case file for audit purposes.
  • Allowable travel expenses (refer to Section 7.7 for submission and receipt requirements).
     

NOTE:  State and local taxes on FDIC allowable expenses will be reimbursed.

7.5 Non-Billable Fees and Expenses
You may not bill the FDIC for the following fees and expenses:

 Non-Billable Fees

  • Services of billable individuals who have not been included on the FDIC approved rate schedule attached to your LSA.
  • Excessive number of attorneys performing services in a matter.
  • E-invoice preparation, review, or for corrections to the E-invoice required by the FDIC Oversight Attorney or Financial Specialist.
  • Secretarial or clerical overtime that has not been approved by your Oversight Attorney.
  • Hourly fees for time spent photocopying, sending facsimiles, etc.
  • Excessive intra-office conferences between attorneys or paralegals for the purpose of providing instruction or status.
  • Excessive time spent in “file review.”
  • Excessive time spent in “review and revision” of documents that you prepare.
  • Educational or development costs for you to become generally familiar with statutory and case law affecting the FDIC.
  • Charging attorney time for tasks that should be performed efficiently and effectively at less expense by a paralegal or secretary, or charging paralegal time for tasks that should be performed by clerical workers.
  • Hours charged at a more senior attorney rate when a matter should be handled by a less senior attorney.
  • Routine budget preparation.
  • Charging attorney time for preparing and presenting training to the FDIC.

 Non-Billable Expenses

  • Ordinary postage.
  • Charges related to word processing.
  • Charges other than “actual time” charges for electronic research (e.g., Westlaw or Lexis).  The FDIC Research Bank should be consulted before any legal research is performed.
  • In-house photocopying charges at more than $0.08 per copy.
  • Clerical time for photocopying, sending facsimiles, filing etc.
  • Excessive/unnecessary overnight mail charges.
  • Meals, unless you are on approved travel.
  • Daily commuting expenses.
  • Sales tax (except for lodging) or surcharges imposed by utilities or phone services.
  • Tax on services.
  • Any costs relating to filing fees in United States District Courts or Courts of Appeal which the FDIC is not required to pay (pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1819(b)(4)).
  • Cell phone roaming charges.
  • A service that is customarily included in the normal overhead or administrative expense of running a law firm (e.g., rent, electricity, local telephone charges, HVAC, bill preparation).

7.6 Over Budget E-Invoices
If the full payment of the E-invoice causes the legal matter to exceed the grand total of the approved Budget, the FDIC will notify you.  The E-invoice cannot be paid until an Amended Budget is submitted and approved.  The Financial Specialist will notify the Oversight Attorney that an amended budget is needed.  The Oversight Attorney will work with Outside Counsel to submit an amended budget.  Refer to Chapter 6 for further information. 

7.7 Travel Reimbursement Guidelines
The following guidelines are provided to assist in compliance with requirements to limit expense reimbursement to those costs that do not exceed FDIC travel reimbursement regulations.  The E-invoice file that Outside Counsel submits to FDIC for payment will not include receipts and supporting documentation.  However, for audit purposes, Outside Counsel must prepare an FDIC travel voucher for all travel relating to FDIC matters and the hard copy travel voucher along with original receipts and other supporting documentation must be maintained by the firm.  (See below for more information on preparing FDIC travel vouchers).  The E-invoice description must also contain detailed information about travel expenses as outlined below.

Eligibility for Reimbursement
To be entitled to travel reimbursement, you must be on a temporary assignment that is at least 50 miles in distance from either your office or residence.  If a temporary assignment concludes during the workday and is located within 100 miles of your office or residence, you are expected to return to your residence, rather than remain at the temporary location overnight.

Travel Authorization
You must ensure that all travel on behalf of the FDIC is necessary and approved by the Oversight Attorney.

Air Travel
Air travel should be in coach class only, unless you bear the cost of the difference between coach and business or first class.  Travel should be planned as far in advance as possible to take advantage of discounted fares, especially if reasonable certainty exists that the event will take place.  If a restricted fare is booked and you require a change, a reasonable exchange fee may be claimed. Special approval is required for international air travel.  Original receipts must be maintained in Outside Counsel’s files for audit purposes.  The E-invoice description must include the traveler’s name, ticket number, class of travel, date of travel, and price paid.

Rental Cars
No car larger than a mid-size should be rented, unless there are three or more passengers or a larger vehicle is necessary to transport equipment, files, etc.. Deviations from standard policy should be documented and maintained along with original receipts in Outside Counsel’s files.  The E-invoice description must include the traveler’s name, name of the rental car company, the rental company’s invoice number, the dates of rental, type of car, the number of passengers, miles driven, gas usage, and any other relevant information about the rental..  The FDIC will not reimburse you for Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) or Personal Effects Coverage (PEC).  The cost of Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) coverage is allowed if you do not have insurance coverage for collision damage.

Lodging
You should make use of government rates whenever possible. Any hotel expenses considered excessive or unreasonable will not be reimbursed.  Original receipts must be maintained in Outside Counsel’s files for audit purposes.  The E-invoice description must include the date, hotel name, type of room, type of rate charged.

Subsistence
On overnight travel status you may only be reimbursed on a per diem basis.  The current FDIC prorated per diem rates allowable are listed below. The current FDIC per diem rates allowable are listed in Section 16.0 of the Contractor Travel Reimbursement Guidelines. Specific per diem rates for different localities may be found on the General Services Administration (GSA) web site. Where the information contained on the GSA web site and FDIC Guidelines differs, the GSA web site controls. When you are on per diem, incidental expenses such as laundry and cleaning are considered to be covered by the per diem.

Per Diem for Overnight Travel
If travel extends into more than one calendar day, prorated per diem for partial days is required. One-fourth of the per diem allowance is payable for each quarter-day or fraction thereof:

Departing
  If you leave your
  residence/office
  between:

Prorated Per Diem Rates
 

12 Midnight to 5:59AM

100%

6:00 AM to 11:59 AM

75%

12 Noon to 5:59 PM

50%

6:00 PM to 11:59 PM

25%


Returning
  If you leave your
  residence/office
  between:

Prorated Per
Diem Rates
 

12 Midnight to 5:59AM

25%

6:00 AM to 11:59 AM

50%

12 Noon to 5:59 PM

75%

6:00 PM to 11:59 PM

100%

If you depart from and/or return directly to your residence, per diem is allowed from the time of departure from your residence until the time of return to your residence. If departure is from and/or return is to your office, per diem is allowed from the time of departure from your official station until the time of return to your official station. Outside Counsel must provide start and return times with their supporting travel documentation to and from the time of departure from your official station until the time of return to your official station. Outside Counsel must provide start and return times with their supporting travel documentation to demonstrate the number of quarters of the per diem allowance they are entitled to receive.

Miscellaneous Meal Expense
If you are in non-overnight travel status and are away from your residence for at least 11 consecutive hours excluding mealtime, you may be reimbursed on an actual expense incurred basis with the meal cost limited to a $10.00 charge (receipt required) or $6.00 without a receipt. 

Long Distance Personal Calls
While on an overnight travel assignment, you may claim the actual amount incurred, not to exceed $3 per day, for personal long distance calls. This is in addition to per diem, if applicable. Itemize your calls on the Law Firm Travel Voucher.   The E-invoice description should include the date, phone number, and charges.

Use of Privately-Owned Vehicle
You may be reimbursed for use of your privately-owned vehicle while on FDIC-related business. The maximum reimbursement rate will be the rate stipulated by the IRS.

If you choose to use your vehicle in lieu of air travel, the maximum reimbursement will be the lesser of the cost of air travel or mileage reimbursement and the additional per diem, if any.  Appropriate documentation should be maintained in Outside Counsel’s files to show the actual cost of coach air travel compared to mileage reimbursement.

NOTE: FDIC does not insure privately-owned vehicles for liability.

Taxicabs
The use of taxicabs is permitted while you are on official travel for FDIC. Reimbursement for taxicab fares (plus the customary 15% tip) is allowed.  The E-invoice description must include the traveler’s name, the name of the taxi service, the to and from location, the date, and the charge.  Original taxicab receipts must be maintained in Outside Counsel’s files for audit purposes. Taxi hire is appropriate when:

  • Public transportation, airport limousine service, and/or hotel courtesy transportation is not available or when time or other factors make it impractical to use available public conveyances;
  • Traveling between transportation terminals and your residence, hotel or office while on official travel status; or for
  • Traveling from your residence to your office to depart on assignment requiring at least one night’s lodging, and from your office to your residence on the day you return from that trip.

Taxi fares for trips used to obtain meals will not be reimbursed.

Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses
Examples of expenses that will not be reimbursed include the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages, entertainment;
  • Laundry, dry cleaning and pressing (covered by per diem reimbursement);
  • Travel insurance;
  • Parking fines;
  • Gratuities and tips paid to service staff inside the lodging facility (covered by per diem reimbursement).
  • Cost of travel for spouses, other family members, and friends is not allowable under any circumstances.

Travelers will not be reimbursed for excess costs caused by:

  • An indirect route as a matter of personal preference;
  • Premature departure for personal reasons from a temporary location; or
  • Extending a stay for personal reasons.

Law Firm Travel Voucher Completion
After completion of travel, a Law Firm Travel Voucher must be prepared and maintained along with original receipts in Outside Counsel’s files for audit purposes. Indicate the purpose of travel on the first line. Dates and times of each departure from residence or office, arrival at the place of temporary assignment, and arrival at the office or residence must be shown on the Law Firm Travel Voucher - Word (see also the sample Travel Voucher).

Receipts
Except for per diem expenses, you must maintain valid original receipts with the Law Firm Travel Voucher for all travel expenditures regardless of cost. If a receipt is not normally provided for the expense (bus or subway token, etc.) the certification signed by the traveler on the Law Firm Travel Voucher will justify the expense.

Receipts attached to the Law Firm Travel Voucher should be originals indicating the name of the payee, date paid, amount, and the service rendered. This includes the original Passenger Receipt Coupon of the airline ticket. If an electronic ticket is used, the boarding passes for each flight must be attached to the Law Firm Travel Voucher.

Penalties  

WARNING: The penalty for knowingly submitting falsified travel charges on an E-invoice can be three times the amount of the claim plus a civil money penalty of $10,000 under the False Claims Act.  31 U.S.C. 3729.  Also, false statements may be criminally prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 1001.  The penalty can be up to 5 years in jail.  A corporation that violates 18 U.S.C. 1001 can be fined up to $500,000.  18 U.S.C. 3571. 

7.8 FDIC E-invoice Review
E-invoice files should be submitted in a timely manner (refer to Section 7.2) and as directed in your referral letter or by your Oversight Attorney. Upon receipt, the FDIC Financial Specialist reviews the E-invoice and forwards it to the Oversight Attorney for review and approval.  The Oversight Attorney performs a substantive review of your E-invoice and approves it for payment. 

NOTE: FDIC E-invoice processing time is a minimum of thirty (30) days after receipt of an accepted E-invoice file.  Payment is generally not made in less than thirty (30) days.

The FDIC is required by statute to make payments by electronic funds transfer (“wire transfer”)unless the Secretary of Treasury decides otherwise.. 

 

 

 


7.9 Reconsideration of Disallowances
You must submit all requests for reconsideration of disallowances by preparing a new E-invoice file for the amount to be reconsidered.  The new E-invoice file must have the original invoice number followed by the letter “R” along with justification for reconsideration.  The new E-invoice file should be submitted to the E-billing service provider within 90 days from receipt of notice of disallowance.  The request must include matter number, E-invoice number, and the amount disputed, along with justification for reconsideration (e.g., copies of missing documentation, narrative rationale).

NOTE:  The submission of erroneous bills or requests for reimbursement of inappropriate charges may result in sanctions.  Under no circumstances may Outside Counsel attempt a set-off or recoupment, obtain a charging or retaining lien, or withhold files in the event of a dispute over payment for services rendered.

 

 


7.10 Audit and Records Retention
Outside Counsel must permit the FDIC, the FDIC Office of Inspector General, the FDIC Legal Division's Risk Management Group, and the Government Accountability Office, or their representatives, to conduct audits or reviews of your FDIC billings, including previously paid Invoice Packages and/or E-invoices, receipts, and supporting documentation.

For purposes of subsequent audits, Outside Counsel must retain the following:

  • Copies of all E-invoice file submissions (refer to Section 7.1);  
  • Original receipts and underlying support documentation not submitted with the E-invoice file;
  • Subcontractor invoices; and 
  • Original or electronic time sheets and time and expense adjustment records.  Example of adjustment records includes documentation explaining differences between time sheet hours and invoices hours for billable individuals.

See the Record Retention Guidelines for Electronic Billing (Appendix C) for record retention requirements. The FDIC reserves the right to obtain additional information upon review of any E-invoice or underlying support documentation, including subcontractor invoices and electronic time sheets.

7.11 Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to questions often raised by Outside Counsel when submitting E-invoices.

May I have expert witnesses hired by my firm call you when they have questions about their payment?
No. Any expert or other entity hired or retained by your firm is a subcontractor and should address all payment questions to you. Their invoices are included as expenses in your E-invoice to the FDIC. The FDIC will not pay them directly.  Outside Counsel must maintain subcontractor invoices, receipts, and proof of payment in Outside Counsel’s files for audit purposes.

When should I submit an E-invoice?
On a monthly basis, if the total equals $500.00 or more. If your total is less than $500.00, submit your E-invoice quarterly, unless this causes undue hardship.

May I bill for clerical or secretarial overtime? 
No, unless such overtime is requested by the Legal Division or occasioned by an emergency situation created by the FDIC. In any case, the Oversight Attorney assigned to your matter must approve clerical or secretarial overtime.

I know I may bill the FDIC for extraordinary postage (e.g. bulk or certified mail). May I also charge for ordinary postage?
No.

What common mistakes should I avoid when submitting my E-invoice?
Make sure you use a different invoice number for each E-invoice you submit unless an E-invoice is rejected and you are asked to make mandatory validation rule changes.  If that happens the corrected E-invoice file should be submitted with the original invoice number.

Do not forget Outside Counsel must maintain all original receipts and other supporting documentation in Outside Counsel’s files for audit purposes.

Make sure your “billing from” and “billing through” dates do not overlap. For example, if an E-invoice covers the period from January 2 to January 16, a subsequent E-invoice should not cover the period from January 10 to January 29.

Be sure to itemize attorney and non-attorney fees separately. 

Our firm charges $0.10 per page for in-house photocopying. May I bill the FDIC for this amount?
No, the maximum charge is $0.08 per page.

What information do I need to include regarding fax and phone charges?
You need to include the date, phone number and charge for each call in the E-invoice description. The bill from the carrier must be retained in Outside Counsel’s files for three years after final payment for audit purposes.

What happens if the E-invoice is rejected by the E-billing service provider?
Outside Counsel will be notified that the E-invoice cannot be processed because certain mandatory validation rules were not met.  Outside Counsel must ensure the E-invoice meets all mandatory validation rules and the E-invoice should be resubmitted to the E-billing service provider.

NOTE:  Where the provisions of the Guidelines and Legal Division policies are contrary, the Legal Division policies and the E-billing Deskbook control.

 

 



Last Updated 04/09/2014 legal@fdic.gov