The current recession has exacerbated the fundamental challenge faced by general counsel: the selection and management of outside counsel. Questions of budget that once could be framed for the CFO or CEO in general terms now require very specific answers. And issues of value are being asked by senior executives with greater intensity. Perhaps most troubling, general counsel still struggle to establish terms of engagement that in almost any other area of procurement would be viewed as basic. Cost, timing, deliverables, staffing and payment terms remain remarkably elusive concepts in the legal profession. For three decades I have personally tackled these questions both as inside and general counsel. I have found great success addressing them by using an organizing principle or methodology that is commonplace in most endeavors but is only recently receiving some acceptance in legal services: project management. If properly implemented, project management offers general counsel the opportunity to create and stay within budget, select counsel using more objective standards, and manage as well as evaluate the performance of outside counsel. It may also be used to arrive at fixed fee arrangements with outside counsel. This article will focus on how project management can assist general counsel to achieve some of the key elements of their mission.
Better Answers to Basic Questions
There Has to Be a Plan
But Do I Really Have To?
— Known Unknowns
— AFAs and Bill Reviews Are Not Enough
— Come On, No One Does This
— Who Is Going to Do This and When Will They Do It?
— Budget Options
— Team Building
— Comparative Lawyer
Give Me One Good Reason Why Not
To view additional stories from Bloomberg Law® request a demo now