In House: Outside Counsel Archives
In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Recently in Outside Counsel Category

Everyone needs an extra hand now and then. Especially in-house attorneys. Taking on outside counsel can help a legal department balance its existing work with new obligations, and add specialized expertise where needed.

Finding a good match isn't easy, however. About 30 percent of in-house counsel let their outside counsel go every year. You don't have to be one of them though -- if you pick well. Here's three common mistakes GCs make when hiring outside counsel:

The decision whether to hire outside counsel is fraught with anxiety. Which firm? How much to pay? How much to have the outside firm do? It's like hiring a new employee (except you're hiring dozens of them).

Hiring an outside firm doesn't need to be stress-inducing. Just keep calm, take a breath, and consider these five ideas when making the leap.

Whether or not LinkedIn seems like a good idea -- and even if you don't know what you're supposed to be using it for -- in-house lawyers seem to love it. According to a survey by research firm Acritas, 43 percent of female GCs and 33 percent of male GCs are on LinkedIn.

That's a large proportion of GCs -- especially for women. So what's the deal with in-house counsel using LinkedIn so much? Has LinkedIn, as Acritas suggests, become the new "golf course" when it comes to making deals?

We've known for a long time that companies are just exhausted from paying $500 an hour for a BigLaw firm they don't need so that senior partners can spend the day golfing. Now there are some numbers to back this up.

Inside Counsel recently reported on an HBR Consulting survey showing that, even as legal spending in total increased 2 percent over last year, inside spending increased 5 percent while outside counsel spending decreased by 2 percent.

Nelson-Smith Wins In-House Lawyer of the Year, Makes Us Hungry

How do you define the role of the modern in-house lawyer? It's probably some amalgamation of legal counsel, reputation manager, data security watchdog, and consigliore to the board. This person should also, of course, be good at watching the bottom line and reigning in outside counsel costs.

At this year's "The Lawyer" Awards (sponsored by Thomson Reuters, our parent company), the UK publication sought to recognize someone who excelled at the jack-of-all-trades role. Who did they pick for In-House Attorney of the Year? Sarah Nelson-Smith of Yum! Restaurants, the parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.

Are You Being Rate-Jacked By Outside Counsel?

"Churn that bill, baby!"

Those words, possibly spoken in jest, made a lot of in-house counselors shiver. After all, controlling the bills for outside counsel is one of your main duties. But, the bigger the case, the harder it is to keep track of escalating costs.

Are you being charged market rate? Are the bumps in compensation for associates assigned to the case legitimate, or are you being gouged?

Last summer, we posted about UpCounsel, a relatively new online service that matches up small companies with attorneys for short-term projects, creating a bit of a revolution in the way companies find affordable legal services. Business owners can post free job listings on the UpCounsel website, and attorneys who have been registered, and screened, are able to bid on the projects. Then, based on attorney profiles, ratings, rates, and reviews, business owners are able to select an attorney for pending projects.

Last week, UpCounsel announced that it has added a new feature to its list of offerings: Outside General Counsel. Responding to customer feedback seeking long-term relationships with attorneys, UpCounsel now is in the business of pairing companies with prospective outside general counsel, who "know their companies and [are] true legal advisors."

3 Ethics Issues In-House Counsel Regularly Face

Traversing tricky ethical boundaries comes with the territory of an in-house counsel gig. Though in-house attorneys can often turn to their GCs to guide them in the right direction, it's also important to have an independently firm grasp of ethics rules.

Here are three common ethics issues in-house counsel face:

Alternative fee arrangements have been growing in popularity, especially among GCs of Fortune 1000 companies. With company budgets getting smaller, it's imperative that in-house counsel find more cost-effective ways to work with outside counsel on complex matters and litigation.

Shy about approaching outside counsel about alternative fee arrangements? Don't be. Chances are, you are not the first to raise the issue with her, and you won't be the last. If you are unsure about how to broach the subject, here are some of the most popular types of alternative fee arrangements. If you know what kinds of existing agreements are out there, you'll have something in your back pocket in case your outside counsel is at a loss.

We've seen the writing on the wall for some time, but the Harvard Business Review Blog Network recently published a post on the decreasing popularity of "pedigreed" white shoe firms as the go-to choice for in-house counsel. Increasingly, smaller firms are getting a bigger piece of the pie.