The following are some of the highlights from a panel session entitled "Selecting Outside Counsel" that was part of IncreMental Advantage's General Counsel Summit:
- While most corporations would like to limit the number of law firms that they work with, they will most likely follow key lawyers that leave retained law firms. This willingness to follow a key lawyer is most pronounced when that lawyer has a great deal of knowledge about the client company. Many large companies do not follow partners, they follow senior associates because there is often the most contact with senior associates and the senior associates often have a more intimate knowledge of the client company.
- Companies are not terribly impressed with law firms that have affiliate relationships with law firms abroad. They would rather see that such offices are an integrated part of the law firm.
- Accounting changes will go into effect next year which will require companies to expense their transaction fees. This will cause companies to more rigorously scrutinize the legal fees that they incur with respect to transactions.
- Corporate clients are resistant to paying law firms to train their associates. They want to make sure that the key lawyers will work on their accounts.
- A great lawyer has a strong knowledge of law, keen analytic ability (applying the facts to the law), sound business judgment and good communication skills.
- References are the best determinant as to a lawyer's business judgment.
- General counselors do not look favorably on law firms that have a high level of turnover among the associates. GCs resent having to constantly train new associates.
These are some of the issues that will be discussed at IncreMental Advantage's Law Firm Business Development Conference. Further information is available at www.incrementaladvantage.com or by contacting Neomi Barazani.