The 2010 ACC annual report summarized findings from 10 years of data and is still valid today. The industry-wide movement among corporate counsel is to retain outside counsel on the following terms:
- Law firm submits a project budget: 65% of in-house corporate counsel respondents now require this (Bucklin’s sidenote: are you ready and able to do this?);
- Client consents for firm staffing: 63% insist on no change of assigned attorneys without approval (Bucklin’s sidenote: most now will not pay for work by 1st and 2nd year associates – experienced counsel and experienced paralegals are wanted);
- Early case assessments: 60% require risks and potential resolution strategies;
- Client ownership of work product: 47% currently require; and
- Technology requirements: 25% of respondents have specific technology requirements of their outside firms – which usually means insistence on using technology to reduce attorney billed hours.
What does your law firm offer – before the prospective client asks about it? Your affirmative offer wins approval, because you show you are orientated the same way corporate counsel thinks!
If you are the typical law firm that has corporate clients, (1) you have fewer than a dozen lawyers in your firm — but (2) you do not take the time for strategic planning on reacting proactively when you get a contact. If you are not a large law firm — get started with some strategic thinking. You can read the full ACC report here.