What are LEDES and UTBMS?

Many legal professionals are familiar with the concept of phase and task billing codes. These codes are used to categorize and track the time and expenses associated with legal matters. But who chooses what these phase and task codes are, and how do law firms send this information to their clients?

The answer lies with the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES), which is a set of open standard formats for the electronic exchange of billing and other information between corporations and law firms. LEDES is maintained by the LEDES Oversight Committee (LOC), a voluntary, non-profit organization.

Over the years, the LEDES file formats and standards have evolved from flat files to XML. However, from the beginning, the LOC has worked with the American Bar Association (ABA) to develop the Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS), which is a set of codes that law firms and corporate legal departments can use to categorize the time and expenses associated with legal matters.

What can Kelvin do with LEDES?

Kelvin can import LEDES files from a variety of formats, including both variations of the original LEDES 1998B format and the newer LEDES XML 2.1 format. Kelvin supports common iteration patterns and aggregates out-of-the-box, including slicing line items and expenses by invoice, matter, date, timekeeper, client, and more.

Kelvin can also export LEDES files in either the LEDES 1998B or LEDES XML 2.1 formats, allowing users to easily modify their data and integrate it with other systems or share it with clients.

What can Kelvin do with UTBMS?

Kelvin natively understands the UTBMS code set, allowing users to easily access the hierarchy of codes and metadata like the name and description of each code. This UTBMS support can even be useful in situations without LEDES, such as when timekeeper data is imported from systems like Aderant or Collaborati.

Kelvin supports the following UTBMS code sets by default:

  • ABA Litigation
  • ABA Activity
  • ABA Expense
  • ABA Counseling
  • ABA Project Management
  • ABA Bankruptcy
  • ABA Worker’s Compensation
  • ABA/LOC Mergers & Acquisitions
  • LOC eDiscovery
  • LOC Intellectual Property
  • LOC Trademark


The examples below demonstrate how Kelvin can be used with LEDES and UTBMS to perform common tasks: