In the new economy, both in-house and outside counsel have become better at doing business together. Indeed, in response to rightful demands by corporate clients, law firms have prioritized the demonstration and delivery of value with an eye toward return on investment and the bottom line. As a result, everyone has benefited from setting and meeting measureable goals, managing risk and avoiding surprises. The legal profession, however, remains a service business, and that paradigm often keeps outside counsel from telling their in-house clients what’s really on their minds. Here’s a list of things that outside counsel may not want to say, but that, when acknowledged, can lead to better (and less costly) service, better representation and a better overall attorney-client relationship.
1. We all need to be on the same page.
But outside counsel can and should help with issues such as selecting expert and 30(b)(6) witnesses, and managing discovery requests to reduce business interruptions. Communicating business objectives (see point two above) helps outside counsel wisely assess the best experts for your case (and you should never accept an expert you don’t feel good about), as well as the individual or individuals best suited for a 30(b)(6) deposition. Similarly, a better understanding of impacted business processes allows for smoother and less expensive discovery processes, such as the preservation and collection of relevant documents.
4. Despite efficiencies, e-discovery is (still) expensive.