Train clients on how to get the most from in-house counsel

To the extent law departments train clients, it is almost entirely educating them about substantive legal developments and how to respond to them. Rare is the department that helps clients understand the roles of lawyers, the limits of certainty in the law, the time it takes to produce good legal work, and how the clients can obtain the most value from their in-house legal colleagues.

One technique for this different kind of training is to give clients checklists of what they need to gather before checking with their lawyers. Two other techniques I described in a recent post on improving contract management, Dec. 3, 2005.

A department can post guidelines and self-help material on the corporate intranet (See my posts of March 27, 2005 on artificial intelligence software made available on an intranet, July 21, 2005 about a law department posting its manual and other material, and Sept. 10, 2005 about charging for help if the answers are on the intranet.)

Finally, in-house counsel with a long-term view will simply make it a practice to tell clients how to create the best relationship.

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