Having been an in-house litigation counsel for some time now, I have often been asked what makes a good outside litigator. After all, there are a lot of great lawyers in the world, and two of the central challenges of an in-house litigator are how to pick the right outside lawyers to represent your client, and how to evaluate their performance after they have been retained. You would think that because this is such an essential aspect of being an in-house litigator, we would have gotten it right by now. And you would be wrong.
In fact, there is no consensus within the in-house litigation world about how to choose outside counsel. It is a truly a dark art that some of us have spent many brain cells trying to figure out. Given this lack of agreement within the in-house litigation world, it can hardly be surprising that outside counsel themselves are also uncertain about how they are being evaluated and measured about what their clients want.