Case Study: Ward and Smith Implements Oddr to Enhance Efficiency, Security and Velocity of Billing and Collections

March 25, 2024
Ward and Smith Implements Oddr

Ward and Smith is a 105-attorney firm with 5 offices across North Carolina.  The firm’s Director of Finance, Jennifer Sutton, has been with the firm for nearly two decades, and is responsible for all things finance:  time entry, accounts payable, accounts receivable, collections, reporting and conflicts fall under her purview. As she says, “If it’s got a dollar sign attached to it, it’s my responsibility.”

Jennifer’s colleague, Charles Collins, is the firm’s Director of IT.  Previously at 800-attorney, Alston & Bird, Charles has brought his ‘big law’ experience to Ward and Smith for the past 15 years, supporting the firm’s strategic plans around innovation and growth through technology initiatives.

Charles remarks, “In everything we do, the end goal is always enabling the firm to succeed by empowering our attorneys and support teams to do more for our clients efficiently.  To that end, our object is to find solutions that make processes faster, easier, and more efficient.”


Ward and Smith is different from many firms in that all billing is handled by a centralized function. Legal Assistants at the firm don't touch billing, as a specially trained accounting team handles every bill from the firm. Working together, Jennifer and Charles identified an innovation opportunity in the firm’s billing and collections workflow that would drive more client value and substantially improve efficiencies.

At the time, Jennifer was tasked to manage her team of billing specialists to do more with the same resources:  the firm’s attorney headcount had increased from 70 attorneys to 105, a 50% headcount increase, but Jennifer’s billing team remained constant at 5full-time specialists.  Even with this significant growth, Jennifer had also set a goal to accelerate collections to improve cashflow predictability.

For his team, Charles recognized a significant technology challenge experienced by the firm’s billers: once the invoices were generated and ready to go out to the firm’s clients, bill receipt was not transparent. The invoices were mailed as hard copies or attached as a PDF in an email and sent to the client for review and payment, with no visibility into whether clients received, opened or viewed the invoices once sent.

Selection Process

Jennifer comments, “My team found that they were often chasing information, trying to figure out the status of invoices, constantly monitoring to make sure that emails weren’t returned, invoices weren’t returned, and trying to follow up and get updated information to track. E-billing was a very time-consuming, inefficient process.”

Oddr’s AI-powered invoice-to-cash platform centralizes, streamlines and accelerates every step of billing and collections— from bill preparation and delivery to collections and reconciliation—enabling new possibilities in analytics, forecasting, and client service.

Importantly, with the launch of Oddr, this was the first time an invoice-to-cash platform was to be available for law firms.  Through ILTA and industry relationships, Oddr reached out to Jennifer and Charles.

“We knew right away that the Oddr team was bringing to the table a solution that had never really existed for law firms before,” said Charles. “There was quite simply nothing to compare it to.”


Jennifer comments: “Before Oddr, billing was a very manually-driven process that was prone to error;  it was a rather stringent process of emailing clients one at a time with a PDF attachment. Oddr enables us to do all of this almost instantaneously and with complete visibility and security.

Now, my team sends invoices out in bulk and has a single dashboard to see whether the client has received it, whether they've reviewed it, and whether they've paid it. We're able to then take that information and feed it right into collections and actually turn those bills around faster than we were able to do prior to the Oddr solution being implemented.  It saves my team hours each month and provides much better information to the relationship attorneys and our reporting systems.”

Additionally, the Oddr platform transforms security by delivering clients a secure link to view invoices. That link includes wrong recipient detection, keeping the invoice secure for the intended recipient only. Furthermore, the Oddr dashboard provides unprecedented visibility into invoice status, enabling the team to be proactive in their communications with clients.  

Even the technology infrastructure has been easy for Charles’ team:  “It’s a cloud solution,” adds Charles, “so there’s a lot less management involved in the technology.  Our finance and billing teams are able to run with it and do what they need because now they have the right tools.”

Key Takeaways

In the end, Oddr is a key partner for the firm’s innovation objectives in billing and collections, and will continue to bring value to Ward and Smith.

Jennifer added, “The Oddr platform represents a huge advancement in our team's billing operations productivity. Our team has embraced the solution, as it streamlines and automates previously labor-intensive tasks, substantially increasing productivity and bringing consistency to our client communication. Consequently, we can closely monitor the progress of our invoices, ensuring efficient client delivery and enhanced business function management.”

Charles concludes, “The Oddr platform's unique invoice tracking will allow us to efficiently follow up with clients, resulting in faster payments and better payment cycle management. Remarkably intuitive, the product required minimal training, enabling seamless integration into the firm's billing operations. The implementation was surprisingly swift and straightforward, which allowed us to establish a fully operational environment in a few weeks.”

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