Burning Issue: Give me a realistic but fair budget for the best path, early on, and then meet it.

Your roles as a GC include being a budget holder and a strategic adviser to the business. External counsel can support you in both of these areas. At the planning stage, they should develop a smart plan, then carefully assign talent to it, and so create a realistic budget. This will be key to any cost/benefit analysis. Then, equally importantly, they need to deliver within budget to avoid unpleasant surprises or blindsiding you. This can be done by operating efficiently and by carefully monitoring spend. These are reasonable and proper demands for you to make.