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Selecting outside counsel, how? September 1, 2009

Posted by Brian Schar in General.

I understand the ACC Value Challenge, although I disagree with its goals to the extent that certain ACC members want to change the structure of law firms.  I don’t care about the structure of law firms, any more than I care about the structure of my docketing database provider or our insurance broker.  I have enough to worry about already.  What I want as the in-house customer from outside counsel is good lawyering, victory, and predictable cost.   How we get to predictable cost can take a lot of forms, not all of which are flat-fee-based.

The GC at FMC has been a leader in the alternative-billing movement.  I understand that the challenge of selecting and managing outside counsel at a huge company is huge compared to my occasional need to select outside counsel at a startup, and that a large company needs some kind of process to go through.  But asking law firms to submit tweets as to why they should be hired, in my view, crosses the line into “dance, monkey!” territory:  http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2009/07/fmc-technologies-search-for-outside-counsel-enters-final-phase.html  I don’t understand the relevance of a law firm marketing person’s Twitter ability to the ability of a law firm to successfully handle multiple matters on a large scale with predictable costs and results.  You might as well ask the firms to all bring a dozen donuts and pick those who purchased the tastiest ones to proceed to the next round.


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