6 comments

DataCert sells accounting services to companies. On the surface, it looks like they offer "e-billing", which, theoretically, is supposed to make it easier to track legal spending. This is supposed to provide the DataCert client with information designed to reduce waste.

In practice, it's clunky, unintuitive and buggy. The product they offer to their primary clients is terrible. But that's not the worst part.

Their business model is: get a company that uses vendors to sign up, then charge that company's vendors to use DataCert's software. For example, BigCo, Inc, uses outside counsel and hires a bunch of law firms, big and small, to do things for them. Let's use "LawFirm" as an example.

Before DataCert, LawFirm sent paper or email invoices to BigCo, who processed them using humans in the accounts payable department. This involves a fairly small investment fro LawFirm (i.e., billing) and a somewhat larger investment from BigCo (i.e., they have to pay their AP people).

DataCert provides software to BigCo that uses an industry standard system (LEDES) to standardize invoices and categorize spending. This offers some advantage to BigCo, in that the LEDES standard does make it easier to keep track of categorized spending.

In my experience, the DataCert BigCo product is not a good product. But there are lots of companies that sell crappy products. If all DataCert did was sell a crappy product, they'd still suck, but no more than pleny of other companies.

What makes DataCert truly awful is that they force BigCo's vendors (i.e., LawFirm) to pay, too. It's one thing to say, "buy our product, if you like." It's something else to say, "sign up for our product, and we'll make your vendors pay for it."

The vendors have three options: a) pay DataCert's fee, b) convince their client that the vendor should be exempt, or c) drop the client. What do you think the probability is that BigCo will make an exception for any particular vendor? One exception ruins the point of "get all your legal spending into one standard system."

In practice, this boils down to: "give us money or else." That is a mugging when it's done in person. It's no less wrong when it's done via email.

Summary: DataCert makes money forcing third-parties that have no say in the contract to pay for services they would otherwise never purchase. This is a horrible, horrible company.

If you, too, have been forced to pay DataCert, please spread the word. They're operating under cover of darkness. If BigCo sees a bunch of negative reviews, they may fire (or not hire) this terrible company. When it goes out of business, the world will be a better place.

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Anonymous
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States #904177

Agree on almost all points, especially the mugging analogy.Have to add, however, that clients who engage Datacert must know full well what the deal is.

They are outsourcing their accounting responsibilities to us by forcing us to manually recompose our invoices in Datacert's garbage interface AND asking us to PAY for the displeasure.Unbelievable.

Anonymous
Portland, Oregon, United States #592003

There are many third party billing platforms.Datacert's is the only one I've seen that bills the firms for the opportunity to bill their client.

Then they escalate the amount due based on billing amounts per year. It's a total scam.

Most clients pay for their own third party service then simply ask the law firms to utilize them.Utilizing any third party service requires the firms to jump through some hoops, entirely for the client's own internal benefit (mainly allowing them to lay off accounting staff), but for DataCert/ShareDoc to also charge the firms to do it is completely outrageous.

Anonymous
#388345

Not a LawFirm, you missed the whole point of Datacert Suck's rant. Let me clarify for you. THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO CONTROL COSTS. Did one ever try Talking to the Lawfirm about the billing? What a novel concept that would be! If you must use third party ebilling services, there are way better options out there than DataCert. Although I got to say that I have not seen any that actually result in lowering legal costs in the long run. They are just another useless overhead item that grows and grows until legal fees are raised to compensate for the waste.

Ok you say that it puts all legal expenses in one spot, Any Law Firms Ive dealt with, at least the bigger ones, are more than willing to to send an efile in a format that can be easily dumped into tracking software far cheaper than a third party service. I did a review of one BigCo that used 3rd party who were ecstatic about saving 8% on legal fees till they realized that they were paying more than double that amount on the 3rd party service and the extra staffing to administer same.

Like I said, there are better ways to accomplish the same goals but if you must use 3rd party don't use Datacert.

Does Not-a-Lawfirm work at DataCert?

Anonymous
#148231

So let me guess, you work with a law firm and don't like your customers taking control of the outrageous fees and shielded business practices that law firms have been abe to get away with for centuries?

Get over it. This is SOP for law firms today.

Anonymous
#148230

So let me guess, you work with a law firm and don't like your customers taking control of the outrageous fees and shielded business practices that law firms have been abe to get away with for centuries?

Get over it. This is SOP for law firms today.

Anonymous
to Not a law firm #639497

You probably just work at Datacert therefore your doubly posted comment is moot.

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