Collaborate with Law Firms to improve legal department management
With the increased pressure to run their department “like a business”, general counsel need to demonstrate improved efficiency, both internally and with how they manage external legal spend. One way to do this is to demand more transparent relationships with their law firms.
Areas where you should be looking for increased transparency include:
- Cost visibility. As well as overall spend, obtain breakdowns of spend by practice area, work type and timekeeper.
- Matter staffing. What level of attorney is being assigned to what matter? Are high risk matters getting sufficient attention? Are high fee earners doing work a paralegal could do? Don’t necessarily look to pay the cheapest cost, but make sure you’re paying the appropriate cost.
- Openness from the firm to receiving feedback on quality of work and results.
- Willingness to use past spend data to negotiate future fee arrangements and terms of contract.
- Visibility of matter and document lifecycles.
- Co-operation in using information and data to make the relationship meetings with your law firms more meaningful.
Trying to obtain this level of transparency without collaboration is difficult, so you need to work with your law firm to achieve these goals.