According to the title of an article in the February 2008 edition of Litigation News Online, In-House Counsel Are Keeping Closer Tabs on Outside Lawyers. In the article, Associate Editor Kristine L. Roberts reports on a survey by the Association of Corporate Counsel:
In-house attorneys are imposing more requirements on outside counsel. For example, three-fourths of the companies surveyed insist that their law firms provide budges for at least some matters. Other common requirements include periodic bills, specific billing formats, discounted rates, regular status reports, and involvement in staffing decisions. Companies are increasingly using technology to track work, such as electronic billing systems that compare bills with budgets. Many law departmt have also used convergence (i.e., reducing the number of outside firms with which they regularly work) to control legal costs.
Blawgletter can think of few things less joyous than fly-specking invoices, second-guessing staffing, and comparing billings against budgets. All that strikes us as so . . . negative. Unproductive. Even adversarial.
Our solution? Don’t pay by the hour. Pay for results. As you do in contingent fee arrangements: no fee unless your lawyer wins. Joy!