You receive a call about a new client with a very large potential matter. The client is a corporation whose regular outside counsel has a conflict, and this new matter creates an opportunity to establish a good relationship with a potentially lucrative client. But there’s a catch: The client has a significant amount of “buying power” and thus can make demands of its law firms to ensure uniformity in its representations and to manage its costs.

Although your firm routinely begins new client representations by means of a standard engagement letter, this client sends you “outside counsel guidelines” to which it requires agreement. The guidelines cover a host of issues, from billing protocols to technology requirements to the scope of the representation. Is there a risk to accepting the client’s guidelines? Can you negotiate the terms?

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