Only Mutual Respect Can Build Harmony When Working with External Counsel
Are you an Employer?    Attract the Best Candidates with Smart Job Postings! Search Legal Resumes
Legal Jobs Board for Attorneys, Law Students & Legal Staff | Serving USA & Other Countries | LawCrossing

Need Help? Call (800) 973-1177 

Job Seeker Login   Employer Login 

Job Seekers?  Try it Now  

ATTORNEY JOBS
LAW STUDENT JOBS
LEGAL STAFF JOBS
Download LawCrossing Online Apps: Click here  
1,000,000 + Attorneys and Legal Staff - Legal employers hire more people on LawCrossing than any other site.
What Are You Looking For:

United States

+Advanced search

Legal Jobs >> Legal Articles >> In-house Counsel Career Feature >> Only Mutual Respect Can Build Harmony When Working with External Counsel
  • In-house Counsel Career Feature

Only Mutual Respect Can Build Harmony When Working with External Counsel


by      
Printable Version PDF Version Email to a Friend
Subscribe to LawCrossing  
 Share on Facebook
 Twitter

Like LawCrossing on Facebook


Avoiding conflict between external counsel and in-house counselThe relationship scenario between in-house counsel and lawyers from law firms has changed a great deal over the last decade with respect to transparency. With access to better software, computer systems and data collection methods, in-house counsel are able to measure up billed hours against results received. Alternative fee structures in generic work is gaining popularity and the private law firm is increasingly being viewed as a cost center with structured business efforts dedicated to measuring their worth.

However, despite technological and economical changes over the last decade, the relationships between in-house counsel and lawyers from private law firms continue to remain almost the same as that of a decade ago. What corporate counsel sought then from private law firm lawyers is the same as what they seek today: a proactive partnership in the conduct of client business. Something that can be found only when greater harmony can be built between in-house counsel and external service providers.

Building better harmony between in-house counsel and lawyers from private law firms


Wood and Eberts III (1999) suggest the following methods to build greater harmony between in-house counsel and lawyers from private law firms. The suggestions remain as relevant today for corporate counsel as they were when first made:
  • Decreasing the number of law firm providers
  • Retaining counsel who anticipate business risks and who can properly counsel on minimizing risks and furthering the company’s business
  • Expanding nontraditional relationships with providers like contract-staffing companies, legal research companies, document vendors which leaves law firms to focus only on litigation and counseling
  • Create alternative billing arrangements with those willing to work long-term
  • Using computer systems and modern technology in communications to increase transparency
  • Insisting that external counsel should communicate both bad news and good news in a timely fashion
Practicing in-house is as competitive as practicing at a private law firm

To work effectively with in-house counsel, lawyers from private law firms need to understand that there are as many creative subject experts this side of the fence as on theirs. No doubt, being in a more competitive atmosphere and exposed to a richer legal environment, private law firm lawyers have a better chance of becoming leading experts in their fields, but it does not mean every lawyer from a private law firm is automatically a leading subject expert.

In every field of real law practice including creativity, client relations, cost and billing, communication, problem solving, responsiveness, and risk-sharing, in-house counsel have to prove their mettle day in and day out. The safe pay packet of in-house counsel is a thing of the past and their take home amounts are open to both the vagaries of stock markets and the performance of non-legal management. The lines keep blurring as more and more law firms adopt business methods of measuring performance, and businesses hire more in-house counsel who are valued subject experts.

Conclusion


Realizations by clients about the actual and measurable contributions of private law firms are being accompanied by a gradual shift to hiring smaller law firms, while big law is being hired only when it is necessary. However, despite the visible shift in preferences of businesses, lawyers from private law firms fail to develop harmony with in-house counsel because of an automatic assumption that it is safer in-house and tougher outside. Unless a private law firm lawyer is rid of this erroneous assumption, working with him/her remains difficult.
If this article has helped you in some way, will you say thanks by sharing it through a share, like, a link, or an email to someone you think would appreciate the reference.



Facebook comments:



Featured Testimonials

I like the job alerts received from the site
Eljay

Facts

LawCrossing Fact #159: Upload your resume to our exclusive site and have it reviewed by interested employers!


total jobs
73,502
Upload Your Resume
New Legal Jobs in Last 7 Days
21,082
Job of the day

Information Technology Attorney / Insurance Attorney in New York City, NY
USA-New York City
Product Director, Cyber Liability The candidate will be responsible for leading the Underwriting, Policy performance, U...

apply for free
 
job search tip
Headhunters are working for you in the negotiation process. Since their fee is a percentage of your first year's salary, they'll try to negotiate the best package possible for you.

Your privacy is guaranteed. We will never give out, lease, or sell your personal information.


Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.