Forum shopping and ways to lessen such nefarious client shenanigans

Some law departments find that wily clients, having been rebuffed by one lawyer from something they would like to do, shop around for another, more compliant, lawyer. Such forum shopping adds to the workload of a department, creates inconsistent advice, shifts the opportunity to give guidance from the most knowledgeable lawyer, and increases legal risk. But, what to do?

One prophylactic is to have a clear understanding within the law department of who knows the most about given questions and to direct to them questions within their field. A law department I have helped has a multi-page breakdown of every imaginable legal issue, along with the in-house lawyer or paralegal best trained to address the issue. Another method is to collect questions by clients in a central repository, searchable easily by a tool such as Google Desktop. A third technique is to have periodic staff meetings where lawyers can talk about the issues they have confronted, which tends to surface forum shopping.

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