Top 5 Tips to Improve Outside Counsel Relationships

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 09, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As streamlined as your in-house counsel staff is, requesting help from outside counsel is often necessary for certain projects. How do you keep a good working relationship with your outside counsel, and what can you do to improve your outside counsel relationships?

Of course, making sure that you have hired the right kind of outside counsel for your company is the first step in the process.

And, if you've worked with the same group of outside counsel before, maybe your established relationship will help your deals go together more smoothly. But, what other tips can you use to improve your outside counsel relationships?

Outside Counsel Relationship Tip #1: Remember your roles. You hired the outside counsel, so technically you are the customer and they are supposed to be providing you with a service.

Outside Counsel Relationship Tip #2: Communicate your goals clearly and effectively. This way, both of you will be working toward the exact same goal. There would be a lot of wasted time and effort if your hired counsel is actually working toward something slightly different than what you want.

Outside Counsel Relationship Tip #3: Make sure everybody is clear about expenses. If you've set a budget for outside counsel, staying within the budget is something you'd probably like. So, make it clear with your outside counsel how much your budget is, so that the relationship doesn't turn sour when you're slapped with an expensive bill.

Outside Counsel Relationship Tip #4: Discuss strategy and tactics. Planning what kind of legal maneuvering both you and the outside counsel will do might result in a smoother, streamlined process.

Outside Counsel Relationship Tip #5: Try to build mutual trust between you and your outside counsel. Successful business arrangements usually turn on a relationship where both parties trust each other. If you can establish trust early on with your outside counsel, the relationship might last longer - and be more productive.

Working with outside counsel seems almost like an inevitability these days. As a result, developing outside counsel relationships seems almost necessary. Utilizing some good practices to deal with outside counsel, like the tips above, can help you develop a long-term relationship that is good for both sides.

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