Some might think it presumptuous for an attorney in private practice, not in-house, to opine on how inside counsel can better manage outside counsel. But I was an in-house lawyer—sort of. I was in the White House Counsel’s Office. Granted, the analogy is a bit oblique. The job was not in the private sector. And we had only one law firm, the Department of Justice, with a very favorable fee arrangement (as in free). Still, I did have to learn how to manage the relationship. More on point, though, is my experience in the private sector as a member or leader of many teams that in-house lawyers have managed. For more than 30 years, I have observed from this vantage point what works and what does not. In my view, much of the folk wisdom on managing outside counsel is at best partially true, and important canons outside this anthology are ignored or used to less benefit than they could be. Here are some examples at both ends of this spectrum:
Maxim: Hire the lawyer rather than the law firm. Partially correct
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