For our latest installment of “General Counsel Corner,” I spoke with the employment counsel for a Fortune 500 company. My question to her was:
Clients apply their own set of metrics for determining quality, value, and success. What are some of the metrics you use when selecting outside counsel?”
Her answer really spoke to the idea of the “one size fits one” model when working with clients that we hear so often (not surprisingly), but she spells it out in a detailed and thoughtful way:
When looking for outside counsel, I do not consider a particular set of metrics. Rather, I look to see whether the attorney has the same litigation mindset that I do. For example, I approach litigation with the mindset of being strategically aggressive. I look for outside counsel that share that mindset and will be aggressive in litigation but also consider strategic avenues to resolve matters when and where appropriate. A demonstrated pattern of success in resolving litigation matters is also a threshold consideration for me. Additionally, I can say without much variation that where an attorney provides me with a yes or no answer without considering the particular needs of my business partners, I do not send additional legal matters their way. I tend to send new legal matters to attorneys who are responsive, think outside the box, and demonstrate to me that they are not considering my legal issue in a vacuum, but rather are considering the particular needs and goals of my company when giving me legal advice.”
Although the lawyer client relationship is professional, it is still a relationship and requires a certain level of decision-making based upon non quantifiable ‘metrics’ such as these.”
Again, we do see some of the same themes we’ve been hearing a lot about – responsiveness and business partnership. So while there is that need for getting to know the individual in-house counsel and client, that is couched within the larger framework of doing so because you are their business partner (and hey, responsiveness is just de rigueur these days).
A big thank you to our in-house counsel for participating in our latest GCC!