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The Red Zone

Disconnect Between In-House and Outside Counsel

By Allan Colman, Managing Director, the Closers Group:

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Disconnect between in-house and outside counsel is a continuation of the discussion of client expectations and the disconnect that often occurs. And although the outside attorneys should be pursuing how inside-counsel actually think, inside counsel should make an effort to impart this information without waiting to be asked. In fact, I've heard GC's say that if their retained law firms don't care enough or aren't smart enough to ask, they won't volunteer. So what is so important for in-house counsel to communicate?

1. What are the commitments you expect the seller/firm to make? Knowledge results in then decisively making those commitments by the firms, or else do not waste your time with a client who wants too much for too little.

2. What are your expectations as a buyer interms of rate structure? This knowledge will help the law firms tell the difference between rate-shoppers and, on the other hand, identify in-house lawyers who don't feel secure in a safety bu unless they're certain that your top-end partners will be immersed in the work.

3. What are the expectations about winning versus settling? This will help law firms differentiate between in-house counsel that want a firm that actually strategizes or a firm that dutifully files briefs and hopefully wins in court?

4. Does the buyer have needs arrayed across a broad spectrum of potential legal services? This knowledge means knowing when a cross-sell will be welcome and when it won't.

Ask questions, offer information, make it work for both of you.

More on other disconnects next time.


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