Frequently Asked Questions for Outside Counsel on the FDIC's Advanced Legal Information System (ALIS)
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- Our firm is already subscribed with the FDIC's electronic billing contractor, Datacert, Inc. Does our firm need to provide the FDIC with Timekeeper IDs?
AŚFirms already subscribed for electronic billing with Datacert do not need to send the FDIC any Timekeeper IDs, because we already have them. Only firms submitting paper invoices or those not registered for E-billing with Datacert need to supply the FDIC with Timekeeper IDs and should do so at once if they have not yet replied. The web link and contact information are provided below in the answer to Question 2.
- Our firm does not have any active cases at this time but has done work for the FDIC in the past. . We are not currently subscribed with Datacert, the FDIC's electronic billing contractor. Do you need the Timekeeper IDs now, or should we wait until we receive a referral?
AŚPlease send them in now. Under ALIS (the new FDIC system, the Advanced Legal Information System), the Legal Division requires Timekeeper IDs from all firms that have a Legal Services Agreement, including those that use monthly paper invoice submissions and those that may later upgrade to electronic billing.
Currently, most forms must be mailed in to the Legal Division with original signatures. To easier collect the Timekeeper IDs from firms that have a current Legal Services Agreement, we are making a limited exception and accepting the updated Rate Schedule forms through our mailbox, ALIS@fdic.gov. The web link for the correct, updated Rate Schedule Form is: http://www.fdic.gov/formsdocuments/5210-10-E.doc (do not use this form to add new billing professionals or to change any current hourly billing rates; see Questions 3 and 4). The form should be printed, completed and returned to us attached to your email response.
- Our firm has hired new lawyers, so when the FDIC asked for us to supply Timekeeper IDs for all of our billing professionals, I included the new hires on that form and e-mailed it to the FDIC. Is that okay?
AŚIn this case you have used the incorrect form. The only acceptable way to add or subtract billing professionals is by completing the Amendment form and, if necessary, the Amendment form Continuation Sheet. If you added or subtracted billing professionals in your e-mail submission of the Timekeeper IDs, you will need to resubmit those new or subtracted billing professionals on the correct Amendment form. Attorneys not approved by the Legal Division under your Legal Services Agreement may not bill for professional services until the Amendment is approved in writing by the authorized representative of the Legal Division.
Amendment forms to add or subtract billing professionals must be mailed in and, at this time, cannot be electronically filed. The correct mailing address to file an Amendment of your Legal Services Agreement is:
FDIC Legal - Outside Counsel Mgmt. Grp.
3501 Fairfax Drive (VS-E-6097)
Fairfax, VA 22226
- When we submitted the Timekeeper IDs on the forms identified in your February 1st letter, our firm performed a few minor adjustments to the hourly rates of our attorneys who have made partner. Can we expect those slight increases to go through your system?
AŚNo, you will need to resubmit those forms using the hourly rates already agreed to in your firm's current, 2-year Legal Services Agreement with the FDIC. Hourly rates of billing professionals are not subject to adjustment during the 2-year term of your Legal Services Agreement. Any proposed increases in the hourly rates of billing professionals at the time of your renewal must be accepted in writing by senior management of the Legal Division before they become effective.
- We are a small firm and have been outside counsel for the FDIC on only a few matters. Our firm has always submitted monthly, paper invoices. Is it mandatory that we subscribe with Datacert and use electronic billing under the FDIC's new ALIS system?
AŚThe FDIC encourages the use of electronic billing, but has not yet made it mandatory. Your firm may continue to submit paper invoices after the Legal Division starts using ALIS. Electronic billing, however, presents several advantages over the submission of paper invoices, and we recommend that you consider upgrading. For example, once ALIS is operational, under electronic billing, your firm will be able to instantly and securely submit agreed upon case budgets, and LSA amendments to add or subtract billing professionals, as well as monthly invoices for your firm's fees and expenses. Invoices will also be easier to locate and track in our electronic system. You may contact Datacert, our electronic billing service provider at www.datacert.com.
- We are already subscribed with Datacert and currently have a few active FDIC matters. What should we be doing right now to best prepare for the transition period, the time gap from when your old billing system is retired until ALIS is ready to accept electronic invoices and other filings?
AŚWe recommend that your firm: (a) review all outstanding, unpaid invoices that have been rejected or otherwise need to be re-submitted. You should resolve all such invoices prior to the shutdown date for LIMS (the old FDIC billing/matter management system), scheduled to take place on April 23, 2013; (b) ensure that your billing professionals have turned in and your firm has submitted all past expense items; and (c) carefully prepare your last invoice to be submitted under LIMS, which must be submitted no later than the day before the LIMS shutdown. Pay special attention to all procedural and filing details set forth in the Outside Counsel Deskbook to help ensure that this final LIMS invoice is compliant and not subject to rejection. Your final invoice under our LIMS system may include your legal fees and expenses incurred up to the day before LIMS is shut down, provided they are timely received. Any invoices that are not timely or do not clear final LIMS processing will have to await resubmission under ALIS, when it becomes operational in June 2013.
- Our firm consults the FDIC's Outside Counsel Deskbook, as well as other policies on your web site with respect to the Legal Division's use of outside counsel. How is all of that going to change under your new ALIS system?
AŚThe Outside Counsel Deskbook has been undergoing revision as the FDIC moves toward the startup of ALIS. Items that may be affected, such as the submission of invoices and case budgets will be addressed in the updated Outside Counsel Deskbook to be made available on the FDIC's web site. Until that updated material is published, you should continue to consult the current Outside Counsel Deskbook on our web site at: http://www.fdic.gov/buying/legal/ebilling/index.html.
For questions regarding FDIC outside counsel policy, operating procedures, or the Outside Counsel Deskbook, the Legal Division has set up an electronic mailbox. You may send those inquiries to OCMgmtGrp@fdic.gov, and the Legal Division will ensure a timely reply.
- We have some additional questions about ALIS and how it is going to affect our firm, especially our billing and accounting department. What should we do?
AŚFor other questions about the Legal Division's transition to ALIS and how it may affect our outside counsel partners, you may send those inquiries to ALIS@fdic.gov.
- 9) Will the law firms be timely informed of the shutdown date for LIMS so that we can submit invoices that include services provided or expenses incurred right up until the LIMS shutdown date?
AŚYes, the Legal Division has currently scheduled LIMS to be shut down at the close of business on April 23, 2013. In the event of any change to that date, the Legal Division will timely inform all outside counsel firms via e-mail to the firm-designated contact point and web-posting to these FAQs. We encourage all firms with active matters to submit their invoices to include fees and expenses right up until the day before the shutdown of LIMS. If those timely-submitted invoices are received without errors, defects or disallowances, they will be paid under LIMS, with final disbursements scheduled for approximately May 23, 2013.
- Many law firms use the American Bar Association's Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) codes when assembling their monthly fee and expense invoices. Will the FDIC incorporate or mandate the use of UTBMS billing codes under ALIS?
AŚThe Legal Division will not mandate the submission of UTBMS billing codes under ALIS. Firms that automatically submit invoices using UTBMS may include the codes with their individual billing entries as long as they are accompanied by an explanatory narrative of the time entry. For additional information on necessary billing detail, see the FDIC Outside Counsel Deskbook, Chapter 7.
- Under current Legal Division policy, all individual billing professionals enter their time only in increments of 6 minutes, 1/10th of an hour. Will this change under ALIS?
AŚIt will not. The Legal Division has found that this billing increment is precise, easy to track and account, and less confusing than other alternatives. We have therefore decided to incorporate the exclusive use of 6-minute (1/10th hr.) billing intervals into ALIS. Quarter-hour or any other time-billing interval will not be accepted under ALIS. For additional information, see the FDIC Outside Counsel Deskbook, Chapter 7.
- Our firm has several professionals whose hourly rates, due to the calculations for FDIC discounts are not in whole dollar amounts. For example, attorney Black bills out at $255.50 per hour. Is this okay?
AŚNo, all time-billers in each outside counsel law firm must have an hourly rate in whole dollars only. Therefore the Rate Schedules or Amendments that each firm completes must contain no decimal/cents in the approved hourly billing rate.