General counsel also assumes their outside law firms have the expertise and expect those firms to deliver it. This was brought up at a session at the Business of Law Form at Legalweek New York specifically addressing what general counsel want and why law firms struggle to meet it. According to the 2017 Altman Weil Chief Legal Officer Flash Survey, 48.3% of law firms reported shifting a portfolio of work worth $50,000 or more from law firm to another because of client service.
Clear expectations must be communicated by the GCs. If the law firm doesn’t know what’s expected, it can’t meet expectations, Smolik pointed out. He went on to say general counsel need “to provide (law firms) with insight into your goals and strategies, and then measure their performance.” During his talk at Legalweek New York.
Collaboration between GCs and law firms comes down to communication. Audience members in attendance at the session were then asked what they see as preventing better collaboration. Some of the issues they came up with included focusing on just legal issues instead of including business issues; attorneys not being comfortable asking clients, “How can we help you partner or in-source?” and instead fighting it; and misalignment of the incentive structure.
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