Six in-house counsel shared their insights during “Perfect Your Pitch for Lawyers”
LMA Ohio’s 2015 Practice Development Institute receives rave reviews from attendees
Panelists, from left: Fred Stein, SVP and GC, Redbox; Mark Stall, GC, Escort Inc. and Cobra Electronics Corporation; Ria Farrell Schalnat, GC and Director of IP, Vora Ventures; Robert Horner, VP and Secretary, Nationwide Insurance; Peter Jurs, VP and Legal Counsel, Fifth Third Bank; David Campbell, Sr. Counsel, Litigation and Claims, Big Lots Stores; and moderator Julie Savarino.
Overview provided by 2015 Legal Practice Development Institute Moderator Julie Savarino.
Panelists and delegates discussed so much during the program that it is difficult to summarize all the key takeaways. But one popular question posed to the six in-house counsel was “In what situations or under what circumstances would you and/or your company consider using an outside lawyer with whom you have not previously worked?” Below is a summary of the six in-house counsel’s responses.
- When there is a new, developing and/or niche area(s) — such as privacy and data security — where in-house counsel does not have the expertise and/or capacity.
- Capacity issues; when the in-house counsel does not practice in that area, there is too much volume and/or there is no in-house counsel at the company/entity.
- Turnover of general or in-house counsel or other decision-makers, such as when a new in-house counsel is hired or a new human resources manager starts at the company. Two in-house counsel mentioned that they had started at their companies 12 to 18 months ago, and out of the dozens of outside law firms their companies use, only about 10% of them reached out when they arrived in their new position.
- Relationship issues with existing outside counsel. For example, some long-standing, existing relationships may be stale, the client may feel taken for granted and the outside counsel is in a complacent/reactive mode. In addition, some of the in-house counsel expressed they have service issues with some of their outside counsel — issues such as lack of proactive counsel and advice and, in some cases, aging lead lawyers, without solid bench/backup support, etc.
- Any lawyer or firm that can offer them comparable quality of legal services at lower total fees, fixed fees and/or in any other predictable and transparent manner is always attractive. All in-house counsel panelists are under pressure to reduce total outside legal spend by between 10% and 25% annually.
- In situations, cases or matters where various company/entity employees need or require separate, independent outside counsel.
- Joint defense opportunities, when a nonconflicting party is also a party to the same lawsuit, jointly retaining a firm might make sense and conserve total outside legal fees.
Julie Savarino, attorney and managing director of Business Development Inc., created, led and moderated this program. Contact Julie at Julie@BusDevInc.com, 734.668.7008, @JulieSavarino or http://www.busdevinc.com/welcome.bdi.
What panelists and attendees say
Julie, I thoroughly enjoyed participating today and learned at least as much (if not more!) than I shared with the audience. My panel colleagues were stellar in their range and depth of experience. I have several takeaways for adjusting relationships with my outside counsel based on the ideas generated in our discussions. Thank you for including me!
— Ria Farrell Schalnat, General Counsel & Director of Intellectual Property, Vora Group - Ascendum
.@juliesavarino @LMAOhio Thank you for a fantastic program!
— Jeff Dennis, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter
The program was excellent. Many great comments from guests. Kudos!
— Jennifer Shankleton, Director of Marketing and Practice Development, Brouse McDowell
Many thanks to @juliesavarino for putting together an exceptional GC panel for today's of 2015 @LMAOhio PDI at the @ColumbusBar.
Fabulous conference today. Thank you so much for everything!
— Julie Gurney, Director of Marketing and Communications, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff
I loved every second of the program! Thank you so much for your professionalism, candor, enthusiasm and, of course, for sharing your expertise!
— Marcie Valerio, Business Development and Marketing Manager, BakerHostetler