5 Top Things In-House Lawyers Need to Know About Outside Counsel

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on June 16, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In-house lawyers can't do it all. In fact, when it comes to atypical legal matters like novel litigation or mergers, in-house attorneys' talents are best used in directing and working with specialized outside counsel. But like any legal consumer, in-house counsel need to be savvy about the outside lawyers they choose to hire.

To help you out, here are our top five tips for working with outside counsel, from the FindLaw archives.

1. Don't Get Lost Going Outside: 3 Mistakes GCs Make Hiring Outside Counsel

The most important thing in-house attorneys can do with outside counsel is to pick the right one. But finding a good match isn't easy. About 30 percent of GCs let their outside counsel go every year. Here are some mistakes GCs make when hiring outside representation, and how you can avoid them.

2. Another Metric for Evaluating In-House Success: Outside Counsel

Outside counsel doesn't just help the legal department get things done, it helps them justify their existence. Evaluating outside counsel can help you justify the company's legal spend, while simultaneously allowing you to identify the outside firms that are most valuable to your department.

3. Why You Should Use Competitive Bidding for Outside Counsel

Competitive bidding, also known as a reverse auction, allows in-house legal departments to solicit legal services proposals from firms, allowing in-house counsel to pick the best value. It's common in many industries, and almost half of in-house legal teams use competitive bidding already. But if you're one of the 50 percent who don't, you should start. Here's why.

4. When It Comes to Data Security, Corps Turn to Outside Counsel

Privacy and data security are major concerns for modern corporations. But when it comes to addressing legal issues for data security, more than three quarters of companies bring on outside counsel. Here's why they do it, and what they look for.

Corporate legal departments are already much more diverse than the typical law firm. (But then again, almost every industry is more diverse than law firms.) Faced with corporate diversity initiatives, or simply a desire to see broader representation in the legal profession, in-house legal departments can flex a little muscle to ensure greater diversity on their internal and external legal teams. Here's how.

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