Corporate Counsels Dictate Billing, Behavior to Outside Counsel
How do you manage outside counsel? In particular, how do you manage billing and behavior?
Pfizer has taken a somewhat different approach--one that it believes has produced better legal outcomes and cost-savings.
For almost three years, Pfizer has managed outside counsel through its Legal Alliance Program. The program includes key inside personnel and 19 firms with which it does a wide range of business.
Firms are paid an annual fee, which they receive on a monthly installment basis. The fee includes most expenses, and covers a broad spectrum of work. Exceptional results may result in bonuses.
Each firm has a point person who liaises with an individual within the company's legal department. Together, they manage the day-to-day relationship, oversee portfolios, and facilitate work. They also track matters so that resources are properly dispersed.
The Legal Alliance Program helps build long-term relationships based on trust. And because fees are fixed and work is fairly distributed, it encourages collaboration amongst firm partners.
A group of attorneys from across the alliance collaborated on Pfizer's licensing agreements, reports the program's Chief Counsel. Three firms also collaborated on a case budgeted for a 3-week trial. It was withdrawn in one day
The law department also facilitates direct collaboration, holding multi-firm training sessions so that it can meet court-ordered deadlines.
Do you think some of the above ideas can help your company manage outside counsel?
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